Outdoor Activities

Palo Alto Open Space preserves offer many ways for you to enjoy the outdoors. You can venture out on your own, participate in interpretive programs led by rangers, or take a school group. Volunteering is always an option too.

Staff and participants in canoe  



  • Baylands: walking, bicycling, birding, canoeing, kayaking, boardsailing, hand-launched non-motorized boating, fishing.
  • Pearson-Arastradero: hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, birding.
  • Foothills Nature Preserve:: hiking, fishing, seasonal canoe rentals, seasonal camping, picnicking.
  • Esther Clark: hiking, horseback riding.
  • Please also visit Enjoy! to see the current activity guide.

Ranger - Led Nature Programs

  • Ranger-led programs are offered through the city’s Enjoy! Online catalog. Please register for all programs to ensure availability, which can be done through our online registration system.

    * Note that you need an account to sign up for Enjoy! programs online. Accounts are free and available to everyone.

Special Request Interpretive Programs

  • Special request interpretive programs are available in Open Space preserves by reservation. Programs vary from nature walks to pole fishing to canoe tours. They can be tailored to the needs of your group. Note that not all programs are available at all preserves. 
  • Download the request form(PDF, 242KB).
  • Please call 650-329-2423 for more information.

15 - Minute Talks

  • If staff is available you can request a ranger to stop by and visit your group in any preserve. These free "15 minute" talks are a great way to get acquainted with the preserve, find out what is blooming, what animals are out, or learn a little about the history of these local treasures. Please call 650-329-2423 for requests in Foothills Nature Preserve and Pearson-Arastradero Preserve or 650-617-3156 for Baylands Preserve.

School Field Trips

  • School field trip programs on subjects such as salt marsh ecology, the world of the Ohlone, and the habitats of Foothills Nature Preserve can be arranged through a naturalist at the Junior Museum and Zoo. For program descriptions and pricing, please call 650-329-2506 or email naturalist@cityofpaloalto.org for more information or reservations.