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. 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. 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.

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.

As of October 9, 2013, smoking is prohibited in all Open Space preserves. For more information, click on this link.

Parks Search

All Open Space Nature Preserves are open daily from 8:00 am until sunset. 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

Last Updated: Mar 5, 2014
Value of Volunteering in Open Space
The City of Palo Alto contracts with Acterra and Save the Bay as stewardship partners. Based on this analysis by Acterra, the city gets a return of 2.5 times its investment in the contract.

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Drought and Fire Danger Affects Camping and Picnicking
Foothills Park has banned wood fires in Towle Campground and use of barbecues in certain picnic areas through the rest of the 2014 season.
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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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2014 Open Space Hours
Note: Last entry to all preserves is one half hour before preserve closing time.
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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.
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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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Open Space Nature Programs
Nature programs led by rangers in the current season
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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.
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Palo Alto Open Space Trail Map
Trail map of all Open Space preserves, including the Bay to Ridge Trail.
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Station 8 Foothills Fire Camera
Camera continually scanning the foothills from the top of the weather station at Fire Station 8
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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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Baylands Nature Preserve Birding
Information about birding at the Baylands.
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Open Space Medallions - Order Yours Today
Fundraiser for Adopt-a-Park
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medallion

Recycled Water Information
Recycled water is wastewater that has been purified through a high level of treatment. Reducing the amount of treated wastewater discharged into the South Bay decreases the impacts on saltwater marshes.
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