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The Outdoor Life - Recommendations for Local Hikes and Walks

8 May 2024 8:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Now that the weather is warmer and rainy weekends are less likely, it is a great time to turn off the screens and spend more time outside.  Getting outside is a win-win for the whole family.  Young kids in particular are fascinated by the natural world – a toddler can spend an entire morning playing with mud and rocks, picking flowers and stomping on puddles, and listening to the sounds of birds and insects.  For the adults, getting outside and engaging in physical activity can improve both physical and mental health.  We are constantly facing stresses in life, whether it’s the unexpected or irregular (busy week at work, travel) or the daily challenges (long commutes, endless errands), and we all need a break from the chaos and overstimulation.  Going for a walk or hike is a way to get our blood pumping and soothe our minds.  

Looking for ideas of where to go?  Here are a few excellent options in the area where you and your family can enjoy nature together.

Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve

10 Old Stagecoach Rd., Redwood City, CA 94062

Edgewood Park is known for its wildflowers each spring.  But even in other seasons, this enormous park (467 acres) has a great selection of hiking trails, along with educational offerings and picnic areas.  The trail systems (10 miles total) can be found here: The Old Stage Road trail is a personal favorite:  the moment when you emerge from the dense shaded canopy and catch sight of the expansive rolling grasslands is dramatic and memorable.

Coyote Point Recreation Area

1701 Coyote Point Dr., San Mateo, CA 94401

If you have young kids, the main attraction in this area is CuriOdyssey, a science museum and zoo (fee required for admission).  Combine it with a brisk walk through the easy trails in the park areas, and you have an enjoyable way to spend the morning that both recharges the parents as well as stimulates (and then tires out) the kids!  The trail system includes:  a segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail, the Bluff Trail that takes you through an Eucalyptus grove, and the Promenade Trail that provides a calming view of the Bay and beach area.  Note that there is a vehicle entry fee to visit.


86 Canada Road, Woodside, CA 94062

Filoli is an enormous and beautiful estate, with a 54,000+ square-foot historical mansion that is open for exploring, 16 acres of lush gardens to wander through, an orchard that is particularly fun to visit when apples are in season and absolutely everywhere, and a 1-mile Estate Trail that is perfect for a brisk stroll for those who desire to be active.  Special events take advantage of the seasons – such as Summer Nights when you can catch twilight garden views, and Holidays at Filoli when the house and gardens are bursting with holiday decorations.  No need to wait for a special event to go; on any ordinary day, it is easy to meander around the grounds, step back in time, and be lost in one’s thoughts.  Note that tickets are required to be purchased for entry.

Laurelwood/Sugarloaf Park

3471 Glendora Dr., San Mateo, CA 94403

This 225-acre green giant, the city's largest park, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Hike or bike along serene trails that wind through diverse landscapes, eventually leading you to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain for breathtaking panoramic views. For a relaxing afternoon, sprawl out on a scenic picnic spot or enjoy quality family time at the playground.

Crystal Springs Regional Trail

950 Skyline Blvd., Burlingame, CA 94010

Lace up your walking shoes or hop on your bike for a scenic adventure on the Crystal Springs Regional Trail. This paved pathway stretches 15.3 miles (with more to come!) from San Bruno to Woodside, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle.

Whether you're a seasoned runner, a family with young children, or an equestrian enjoying a leisurely ride, the Crystal Springs Trail caters to all ages and abilities. Walk alongside sparkling reservoirs, soak in stunning views, and breathe in the fresh air. 

*Please note that dogs and other pets are not allowed on the trail.

Burlingame to Redwood Shores Bay Trail 

This scenic 15-mile route offers continuous shoreline paths. Start in Burlingame at Anza Lagoon and keep your eyes peeled for airplanes landing at nearby SFO as you follow the trail through Coyote Point Recreation Area. In San Mateo, explore Ryder Park's tidal wetlands.

For furry friends, Seal Point Park boasts the biggest dog park in the city, offering a perfect break for your pup to run leash-free (remember to clean up after them!). Afterward, take in the expansive bay views and public art at Seal Point Park. Across an elegant 105-foot bicycle/pedestrian bridge over San Mateo Creek is the park. South of the park, the Bay Marshes boardwalk extends from the trail with views of the mudflats.

The trail then winds through Foster City, passing under the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge and offering glimpses of marshes and mudflats. In Redwood Shores, enjoy Island Park's tranquility and continue to the Redwood Shores Ecological Reserve.

A final tip to make it easier for you to enjoy the great outdoors:  Use your library card to borrow a California State Library Parks Pass and rent a backpack kit - check out the offerings here:

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