Open Space Preserves

Open Space Preserves

Our Mission
To protect and interpret the resources and
wildlife entrusted to Palo Alto for the enjoyment
of future generations.

Palo Alto's open space preserves offer a chance to hike from the marshes of the bay to the redwoods of the upper Santa Cruz mountains. The Baylands Preserve protects some of the last remaining salt marsh and mud flat habitats on the west coast. It offers excellent birding year round. Pearson-Arastradero Preserve is a beautiful mixture of rolling savannah grassland and broadleaf evergreen forest. Each area of the preserve has something different to offer: views of the bay; a quiet walk through the grasslands; or a snooze by the lake. Esther Clark Nature Preserve is a good place for quiet meditation or watching the sun set. Foothills Park is a 1,400-acre preserve with rugged chaparral, woodland, fields, streams, a lake, 15 miles of backwoods trails and spectacular views of the bay. This park is open to Palo Alto residents and their accompanied guests only.

Open Space offers a variety of nature programs, hikes, camps, walks, and other activities in the preserves. See the Activities and Programs page.

Visit the parks map for location and addresses of the open space preserves as well as neighborhood parks. For all of Palo Alto's open space preserves, see the Open Space trail map.

 

 

Parks Search

All Open Space Nature Preserves are open daily from 8:00 am until sunset, every day of the year. Click here for Park Hours.

Open Space Preserves Trail Map

Open Space, Parks & Golf Administration
3201 East Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, California 94303
Phone: 650-496-6962
Fax: 650-496-5925
open.space@cityofpaloalto.org

Baylands Nature Preserve
2500 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone: 650-617-3156
Fax: 650-496-5925
Location Map

Baylands Nature Center
2775 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone: 650-329-2506
Fax: 650-493-5239
Location Map

Esther Clark Preserve
End of Old Trace Road, off Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA
Phone: 650-329-2423
Location Map

Foothills Park
3300 Page Mill Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Phone: 650-329-2423
Fax: 650-917-9647
Location Map

Pearson-Arastradero Preserve
1530 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650-329-2423
Fax: 650-917-9647
Location Map

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Baylands King Tides Schedule for Winter 2017-18

Attention bird watchers, paddlers, windsurfers and general water fanciers!

King tides are the highest tides of a season, usually in the winter. You can see these high tides in the Baylands. When the water is high, normally reclusive bird species move up out of the plants and can be more easily seen by binoculars or scopes. You might also be lucky enough to see bat rays, harbor seals or other species. And it's just plain interesting to see what the Baylands looks like when the water level is so high.


( Printable list of king tides during Baylands open hours )
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Partial Closure of Los Trancos Trail, Closure of Costanoan Trail

The Los Trancos Trail (approximately 3 miles) between Trappers fire road in the north and Pony Tracks fire road in the south, and the entire section of Costanoan Trail (approximately 0.8 miles) are closed until further notice. Approximately 11.2 miles of trail and 5.5 miles of fire roads remain open for your hiking enjoyment.


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Palo Alto Landfill Conversion to Park Land Informational Handout

Information on the conversion of the Landfill to dedicated park land.


( View PDF )

2017 Open Space Hours

Note: Last entry to all preserves is one half hour before preserve closing time.
( 2017 Open Space Hours (PDF) )
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No Smoking in Open Space and Parks Effective 10/9/2013

Smoking of any type will be prohibited in neighborhood parks and Open Space preserves beginning October 9, 2013.
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Foothills Park Reservations

Foothills Park has three areas that can be reserved: a group picnic area, camping sites and a meeting room.
( Foothills Park Facility Use Application and Permit )
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Mountain Lion Habitat Warning

Foothills Park, Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, and the surrounding area are habitats for the California mountain lion.
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Value of Volunteering in Open Space

The City of Palo Alto contracts with Grassroots Ecology and Save the Bay as stewardship partners. Based on this analysis by Grassroots Ecology, the city gets a return of almost double its investment in the contract.

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Baylands Nature Preserve Birding

Information about birding at the Baylands.
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History of Waste and The Baylands

The area now known as the Palo Alto Baylands started as a waste disposal site in the early 20th century. Over time we learned how to better treat and dispose of our waste, and even convert some of it into useful energy. The landfills are now closed and being turned into additional parkland.
( Landfill Timeline )
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Palo Alto Open Space Trail Map

Trail map of all Open Space preserves, including the Bay to Ridge Trail.
( Palo Alto Open Space Trail Map )
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History of Baylands Nature Preserve

History of the John Fletcher Byxbee Recreation Area, more commonly known as the Baylands Nature Preserve.
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Open Space Medallions - Order Yours Today

Fundraiser for Adopt-a-Park
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Last Updated: Nov 7, 2017
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