Bounded by Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills, Pearson-Arastradero Preserve and Los Trancos Open Space Preserve, the 1,400-acre Foothills Park is a nature lover's paradise. Miles of trails provide access through rugged chaparral, woodlands, fields, streams, and a lake, and provide spectacular views of the Bay Area. Wildlife abounds, and it is common to see deer and coyotes; if you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of a bobcat.
(For those using GPS navigation systems or computer maps, we suggest you use '11799 Page Mill Road, Los Altos Hills' as your destination address to be directed close to the park entrance.)
Foothills Park is open to Palo Alto residents and their accompanied guests only. Proof of residency is required. Guests must be accompanied by a Palo Alto resident. Limit of 15 guests per resident in two additional cars.
Groups of 25 or more adults and children must make a reservation in advance. Groups of 24 or fewer may leave a guest list with a ranger in person at the entrance station on the day of their gathering.
These are a few of the rules to help everyone enjoy this nature preserve:
Dogs are not permitted anywhere in Foothills Park on weekends or city holidays. Dogs are only permitted on weekdays and must be on leash at all times. More information is on our Dogs page.
Bicycles are allowed on paved roads only, and not on trails. All bicyclists must wear helmets.
Coasting devices (i.e., skates, roller blades, scooters and skateboards) are not allowed in Foothills Park.
Fires and barbecues are restricted to designated areas.
Use park barbecues for charcoal fires only; no wood fires.
No collecting of plants or animals.
No smoking anywhere within Open Space nature preserves.
Fee Schedule Fees for campsites, Oak Grove picnic area, and the Interpretive Center meeting room.
Things to Do
Hiking Trails: There are fifteen miles of hiking trails, which offer a variety of hiking experiences. The longest hike is the Los Trancos Trail, which is 7.5 miles. The Toyon Self-Guided Nature Trail enables you to learn about nature at your own pace. See the Foothills Park trail map for more information.
Lake, Fishing, and Boating: Fishing is permitted in Boronda Lake. All anglers age 16 and over must have a California Sport Fishing License. Fish species in the lake include bass, catfish, and sunfish. While swimming is prohibited you may enjoy the lake with your non-motorized and hand-launched boat. Canoes are also available for rent on the weekends and holidays from May 1st to October 31st, weather and staffing permitting.
Picnic Areas: Five picnic areas are first-come, first-served for groups of 24 (children included) or fewer. Tables, barbecues, and water are available. Groups of 25 or more people must have a reservation. The Oak Grove group picnic area is the only picnic area that is reservable, and can be used by groups of 1-150. To make a reservation for Oak Grove, use the city's online reservation system and read Foothills Park Oak Grove Picnic Area Reservation Information. For more information please call 650-329-2423.
Camping: Towle Camp is a seasonal campground available to residents and their guests for tent camping from May 1 to October 31. At the end of Wildhorse Valley, eight peaceful campsites are nestled under the trees. Each site offers a charcoal barbecue, water, picnic table, tent area and food box. Six of the campsites can accommodate up to eight people, and the remaining two campsites can accommodate up to sixteen people. Campsites can be reserved up to one year in advance. Many Friday and Saturday nights are booked two to four months in advance. Sunday through Thursday nights are often available that same week.
Nature Programs: Ranger-led activities are available throughout the year in Foothills Park. See the Activities and Programs page for more information.
The land for Foothills Park was sold to the City of Palo Alto by Dr. Russel Lee, founder of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, and his wife Dorothy in 1958, on the condition that it be preserved as open space. The park was formally dedicated in 1965. The Interpretive Center in the park is housed in a building originally built by the Lees as a horse stable. For more information, see the Palo Alto Historical Association's chapter on Foothills Park in their city history.
Help Keep Boronda Lake Full and Healthy!
It costs $50,000 a year to keep Boronda Lake full in the Summer. You can help!
Foothills Park 3300 Page Mill Road Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Star Parties 2014 Schedule Come see the stars and planets and other celestial bodies after dark in Foothills Park. The members of the Peninsula Astronomical Society set up their telescopes on Vista Hill, and they love to share their knowledge of the night sky. Bring your own telescope if you wish. Free. [more]