Wildlife in Peninsula

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Bair Island Ecological Reserve (Redwood City)

The area is home to many native species, endangered and protected species of birds, mammals, fish and plants.   It hosts over 280 species of shorebirds and waterfowl as well as the endangered harbor seals and salt marsh harvest mouse.  The reserve covers 30,000 acres and a variety of habitats including open bay, salt pond, salt marsh, mudflat, upland and vernal pool.  There is a three mile easy, flat, fully exposed dirt loop hike that is open to hikers, bicycles and equestrians.   There is a medium sized dirt parking lot that has room for about 15 vehicles. There are no restrooms or other facilities.

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.

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 is plenty of parking with many parking lots scattered throughout the park. Restrooms are located at the museum and near the beach.

Flood Park (Menlo Park)

This 21 acre park is famous for its large native Oak and Bay trees. Birds like mockingbirds, woodpeckers, scrobjays, and a variety of raptors, including redtail, redsholder and American nestrals inhabit the park. There are a number of flat and paved walking paths in the park.  Restrooms are available.

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.

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.

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.

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.