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Last Updated: Oct 24, 2017

Foothills Park

view of Boronda Lake in Foothills Park

NOTICE: Partial closure of Los Trancos Trail in effect. Costanoan Trail is also closed. For more information, visit this news item.

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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

Contact
Phone: 650-329-2423
Fax: 650-917-9647
open.space@cityofpaloalto.org

Open Hours
8:00AM - Sunset
For specific hours, please visit our Park Hours sheet

Reservations
Towle Campground
Oak Grove Picnic Area

Maps
Foothills Park Trail Map
Palo Alto Open Trails Map

Help Keep Boronda Lake
Full and Healthy!


It costs $50,000 a year to keep Boronda Lake full in the Summer. You can help!


Residency Requirement


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.

List of acceptable proofs of residency


Groups

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.

Preserve Rules

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.

Camping: Towle Camp is a seasonal campground available to residents and their accompanied guests for tent camping from May 1 to October 31. To make a reservation for camping, use the city's online reservation system. For more information, visit our Foothills Park Towle Campground or page call 650-329-2423.

Nature Interpretive Center: The Nature Interpretive Center has exhibits and maps and is the starting point for many nature walks. There is a meeting room available for rent. For more information, see Foothills Park Interpretive Center Meeting Room Reservation Information. You can use the city's online reservation system to make a reservation.

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.


History

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.

Last Updated: Oct 2, 2017
Partial Closure of Los Trancos Trail, Closure of Costanoan Trail
The Los Trancos Trail between Trappers fire road in the north and Pony Tracks fire road in the south is closed for the foreseeable future.
Costanoan Trail is closed in its entirety.

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]
map showing area of trail closure

2017 Open Space Hours
Note: Last entry to all preserves is one half hour before preserve closing time.
[more]

Foothills Park Reservations
Foothills Park has three areas that can be reserved: a group picnic area, camping sites and a meeting room.
[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.

[more]

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.
[more]

Mountain Lion Habitat Warning
Foothills Park, Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, and the surrounding area are habitats for the California mountain lion.
[more]


Open Space Medallions - Order Yours Today
Fundraiser for Adopt-a-Park
[more]
medallion