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Last Updated: Oct 24, 2017
NOTICE: Partial closure of Los Trancos Trail in effect. Costanoan Trail is also closed. For more information, visit this news item.
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.
Foothills Park 3300 Page Mill Road Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
GPS Address 11799 Page Mill Road Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
It costs $50,000 a year to keep Boronda Lake full in the Summer. You can help!
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. Please call the Foothills Park rangers for clarification or for additional questions at 650-329-2423.
Open Space has specific rules on group sizes. Those with groups of 25 or more must have a permit or reservation in advance. Those with groups of 24 or fewer do not need a permit. Residents and non-residents, adults and children are included in the group size. For more information, please visit our Groups and Special Events Permits page.
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 under physical control 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 Open Space.
Fires and barbecues are restricted to designated areas. Staff may restrict usage depending on fire danger.
Use park barbecues for charcoal fires only; no wood fires.
No collecting of plants or animals.
No smoking anywhere within Open Space nature preserves.
No remote-control devices, for articles such as boats, planes, quadcopters or drones.
For more information, please visit our Rules and Regulations page or contact the rangers at 650-329-2423.
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, 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, and there is one picnic area that is by reservation only. Tables, barbecues, and water are available. Groups at the non-reservable picnic areas may not exceed 24 people (adults and children, residents and non-residents included). Groups of 25 or more people must have a reservation in advance for the Oak Grove picnic area.
The Oak Grove picnic area is the only picnic area that is reservable, and may be used by groups of 1 to 150. Read the Foothills Park Oak Grove Picnic Area Reservation Information first, then use the city's online reservation system to make a reservation. For more information and photos see the Oak Grove page or call the rangers at 650-329-2423.
Nature Programs: Ranger-led activities are available throughout the year in Foothills Park. See the Activities and Programs page for more information.
Know Before You Go Foothills Park General Information Some of the most common rules and regulations regarding use of Foothills Park, such as group sizes, reservations, entry hours, dogs.
Fee Schedule Reservation fees for campsites, Oak Grove picnic area, and the Interpretive Center meeting room.
Guest List For Oak Grove, Interpretive Center and Towle Campground reservations only. Not for use for small groups.
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.
UPDATE 6/21/2017: We still do not have dates for reopening these trails.
UPDATE 3/16/2017: More parts of the Los Trancos Trail have eroded or moved. Many more tree have come down, blocking the trail. In addition, the Costanoan Trail has a possible imminent slope failure and is closed completely.
UPDATE 2/14/2017: Multiple sections of the Los Trancos Trail have been removed by slides. Trail is impassable. Hillsides are unstable and extremely unsafe. Stay off the trail. [more]
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.