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Bayfront Park (Menlo Park)

The park is surrounded on three sides by the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge so the trails go around salt ponds, salt marshes, and sloughs that are home to 180 different species of birds. The park is used for hiking, running, bicycling, dog walking, bird watching, kite flying and photography.  The relatively flat unpaved 2.3-mile trail around the perimeter of Bedwell Bayfront Park is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail. There are two paved parking areas and a restroom near the large parking lot.

Big Canyon Park (San Carlos)

This 16 acre park has a hilly and narrow dirt 1.2 mile trail that is challenging and has a spectacular view of city and the east bay area. There is ample street parking in the neighborhood.

Coal Creek Open Space Preserve (Redwood City)

This preserve has about 500 acres of land and about five miles of dirt trails used by hikers, bicycles and horses.  On a clear day, one can see views of the Bay Area from the trailhead area at an elevation of 2300 feet.  The trails cover hilly grassland and lots of woods which provide a mixture of shade and sun.  There is limited paved parking at turnouts off of Skyline Blvd.  There is no drinking water, toilets or pay phone but there is an emergency call box.

Coal Mine Ridge (Portola Valley)

This area is owned by Portola Ranch Homeowners association and they allow the public to use the land.  The dirt trails are a combination of narrow and wide, with a mix of sun and shade.  The largest elevation change is 500 feet.  Please note that the Toyon trail is for pedestrian only and some of the trails do not allow dogs.  There is no drinking water, restrooms or food nearby.

Coyote Point County Recreational Area (San Mateo)

This area is 670 acres of peninsula that hosts beaches, marshes, large lawns, a marina, and a nature museum. Paved and dirt paths are for hikers and bicyclists with some trails for pedestrians only.  The park has a Museum for Environmental Education with views of the Bay out their picture windows. There is also a one acre walk through wildlife habitats and gardens which includes an enclosed outdoor aviary, and animal exhibits with coyote, bobcat, porcupine, badger, raccoon, fox, reptiles, amphibians, and river otters. There are many parking lots scattered throughout the park. Restrooms are located at the museum and near the beach.

Crystal Springs Park (Hillsborough)

The popular park has multi-use paved and dirt trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians.  It hosts two reservoirs: Crystal Springs Reservoir and the San Andreas Reservoir. Restrooms and drinking water are available on the Sawyer Camp trail.

Eaton Park (San Carlos)

This is a 58 acre park with a 3.4 mile roundtrip easy, wide fire access road that begins at an elevation of 290 feet and whose highest point is 600 feet. The trail wanders through natural vegetation and wildlife. There is parking for about six cars in the cul de sac.

Edgewood Park and Preserve (Redwood City)

Edgewood has dirt trails that range in elevation from 225 to 820 feet with chaparral, riparian Oak, woodland and grassland. You may catch a glimpse of deer, rabbits, bobcats, raccoons, coyotes and rattlesnakes and there is a variety of birds for birdwatchers. The Sylvan Loop is designated hiking only, and all other trails are also open to equestrians. There is a paved parking lot right off Edgewood, and a smaller paved lot inside the gate with room for 13 cars.

El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve (Redwood City)

The preserve has over 2800 acres and over 35 miles of dirt trails with small loops that are interconnected and elevation ranges from 2300 to 800 feet. The trails cover mixed evergreen and redwood forests, creekside trails, coastal and forest views and rare sandstone formations. The trails are shared with hikers, bicycles and horses. There is parking for about six cars. There are no toilet facilities or drinking water.

 

Huddart County Park (Redwood City)

Huddart Park covers 900 acres of hiking and equestrian trails with views of the valley.  Trails cover gulches, creeks, hillsides, coastal redwood forest, mixed evergreen forest and chaparral. Wildlife inhabitants include black-tailed deer, raccoons, black squirrels, jackrabbits, brush bunnies, chipmunks, lizards, a few bobcats, coyotes and grey foxes.  Birds that make their home here are acorn woodpeckers, chickadees, towhees, Steller's Jays, quail, scrub jays, and wrentits. Shrubs include manzanita, chamise, chaparral pea, yerba santa, sticky monkey flower, wild lilac, toyon, wood rose, and poison oak.  Wildflowers, such as western hound's tongue, indian warrior, and fremont's star lily (zygadene lily) also live here.

Junipero Serra County Park (San Bruno)

This park is 108 acres and has fairly flat, dirt hiking trails that are partly shady and partly sunny with panorama views of the Bay Area.  Plant and Trees that make home in the park include Coast Live Oak, Arroyo Willow, California Bay Laurel, Madrone, California Buckeye and the introduced Eucalyptus, Monterey Cypress and Monterey Pine. Plants include spring wildflowers, Douglas Iris, Miners Lettuce, Hounds Tongue, California Buttercup, Soap Plant and Owl Clover.  Wildlife includes scrub jays, towhees, banana slugs, raccoons, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures.  Watch out for Poison Oak.  The visitor center at the park headquarters has habitat exhibits . There is a self-guided one third of a mile Live Oak Nature Trail that has a short interpretive loop.  Restrooms are available.

Long Ridge Open Space Preserve (La Honda)

Long Ridge Open Space Preserve is a 2035 acre park with about 13 miles of dirt trails for hikers, bicycles, and equestrians.  There are scenic views on the ridge trails with benches strategically placed for viewing the Santa Cruz mountains and Pacific Ocean on clear days. Keep an eye out for rock formations and native plants along the way. There are no restrooms or drinking water in the preserve.

Oyster Point Marina (South San Francisco)

The marina is home to a 33 acre park with a hiking trail that is part of the bay trail.  The site has a restaurant, picnic facilities, a 2.5 acre sandy beach, plenty of parking and restrooms.

Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve (San Carlos)

This is a 293-acre preserve with a mix of woodland, oaks and laurel trees with the hilltop hosting a mix of grasses and non-native plants such as oleander, eucalyptus and cactus. On clear days there is a wide view of San Francisco Bay, the southern peninsula and south bay cities, and the peaks of Mount Diablo and Mount Hamilton. The elevation gain on the trails only amounts to about 300 feet, and the rate of incline is very gentle. Dogs must be on a maximum 6 foot leash except on special off-leash area.  Bicycles and equestrians are permitted on the Cordilleras and Hassler Trails only. Polly Geraci Trail is hiking only. There is no drinking water on site. 

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve (Redwood City)

This is a 3,360 acre preserve with 21 miles of trails shared by pedestrians, bicycles and equestrians.  Trails start at high elevation on Skyline Blvd and can go down by 1600 feet.  Most of the trails are shaded by redwoods so the canyon area is moist and a good habitat for banana slugs especially in the winter.  There are ferns, berries, wildflowers, coastal scrub and hardwood forests of tanoak, madrone, and Douglas fir.   On a clear day, there are beautiful views of the ocean and the hills that lead down to the coast.  It is recommended to bring water.  The parking lot is large enough for about ten cars.  There is a pit toilet less than one tenth of a mile from the start of the trail.

Ravenswood Open Space Preserve (East Palo Alto)

This is a 373 acre marshland preserve that contains a former salt pond surrounded by levees. It features 2 miles of hiking and biking trails.  The preserve attracts many birds including sandpipers, dowitchers, avocets, Great blue herons, white pelicans, and egrets.  There are plenty of picnic tables, a visitor center with restrooms (when open) and two parking lots on Bay Road.

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve (La Honda)

The preserve encompasses about 2000 acres of grasslands, ridges and hillsides. The narrow dirt trails cover mainly exposed areas so bring a hat. The area hosts a diversity of plants and birds and, in the spring, there are a variety of orange, purple and yellow wildflowers.  There are about 10 miles of flat and rolling hill multi-use trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use with views of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay on clear days. There are two main entrances and both have restrooms.

San Bruno Mountain State and County Park (Brisbane)

San Bruno Mountain Park is 2,326 acres at the northern end of the Santa Cruz Mountain Range. It's ridge line has elevations ranging from 250 feet to 1,314 feet at the summit and has 12 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding with panoramic views of San Francisco and Central Bay Area on clear days. The park is home to 14 species of rare or endangered plant life, as well as host and nectar plants of endangered butterflies.  In the Spring season expect to see wildflower displays on the mountain.  Restrooms, parking and drinking water are available. The weather changes without warning so wear layered clothing.

Saratoga Gap Open Space (La Honda)

The park has 1,540-acres with trails for hikers, horses and mountain bikers.  The Saratoga Gap Trail parallels Skyline Boulevard with views of the ocean, passing under oaks and a wooded Douglas fir forest. View lichen-covered boulders and sandstone.

Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve (La Honda)

This preserve has about 2100 acres with 10 miles of multi-use trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. There are some hiking only trails. Trails offer views of Horseshoe Lake, Alpine Pond, Lambert Creek Watershed, Butano Ridge and Portola State Park. Horseshoe Lake and Alpine Pond are good for wildlife and bird watching. There is a Nature/Educational Center at Alpine Pond. There are restrooms in the main parking lots but no drinking water is available. Two trails are accessible to wheelchairs: one around Horseshoe Lake and the other around Alpine Pond.

Thornewood Open Space Preserve (Woodside)

The Bridal Trail is approximately one mile uphill on a dirt path among redwood trees and ferns. It is a completely shady trail with the final destination arriving at Lake Shilling which looks more like a pond where there is no swimming or fishing. It takes less than one hour to walk the trail roundtrip. The trailhead is on the right side of Old La Honda road off of Portola road. There is free parking on the right side of Old La Honda with room for about four cars. Parking is from 6 am to 6pm.

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve (Portola Valley)

Windy Hill has about 1300 acres of land with about 12 miles of multiuse trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians.  Habitats include forested ridges, valley floors (Hamms Gulch, Eagle, Razorback Ridge, and Lost Trails), grassy ridges (Spring Ridge Trail) and spectacular views of the bay and surrounding valley (Anniversary Trail). The Betsy Crowder, Razorback, Lost, and Hamms Gulch Trails are open to horses and closed to bicycles all year round.

Wunderlich County Park (Woodside)

This park covers over 900 acres of coastal mountain environment with a mix of redwood forest and meadows and canyons, a stream, and springs.  The dirt trails are open to both equestrians and hikers and reach an upper elevation of  2,000 feet. For equestrians, it has a lower area containing boarding stables, riding facilities, and a horse ring.  Wildlife viewing includes black-tailed deer, raccoons, black squirrels and sometimes bobcats, coyotes and grey foxes. Also, acorn woodpeckers, chickadees, towhees, and Stellar jays can be seen.  There are water and restroom facilities in the medium sized parking area.