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. 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. 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. This park is open to Palo Alto residents and their accompanied guests only.


Open Space offers a variety of nature programs, hikes, camps, walks, and other activities in the preserves.  Activities and Programs

Visit the parks map for location and addresses of the open space preserves as well as neighborhood parks.  Open Space trail map.



Parks Search

All Open Space Nature Preserves are open daily from 8:00 am until sunset, every day of the year.  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

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

All Trails Now Open

The Los Trancos Trail and Costanoan Trail in Foothills Park are now open as of October 9, 2018.

CAUTION: The trails have loose soil and soft trail edges, especially in the repaired and reconstructed sections. Please be careful.

All Trails Now OpenMore...
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Burn Ban in Palo Alto Foothills

Due to extreme fire conditions, the Palo Alto Fire Department has issued a proclamation suspending burn permits and other uses of open fires effective August 11, 2018. Because of this, wood campfires and charcoal burning are prohibited in Towle Campground; 1-liter gas tabletop camp stoves are permitted. Charcoal fires are permitted only in Oak Grove and Orchard Glen picnic areas; all other barbecues are closed.

Burn Ban in Palo Alto FoothillsMore...

Palo Alto Landfill Conversion to Park Land Informational Handout

Information on the conversion of the Landfill to dedicated park land.

( View PDF )

2018 Open Space Hours

Note: Last entry to all preserves is one half hour before preserve closing time.
( 2018 Open Space Hours (PDF) )
2018 Open Space HoursMore...

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.
No Smoking in Open Space and Parks Effective 10/9/2013More...
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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.
( Foothills Park Facility Use Application and Permit )
Foothills Park ReservationsMore...
News Image ID 11811

Mountain Lion Habitat Warning

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

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.

Value of Volunteering in Open SpaceMore...

Baylands Nature Preserve Birding

Information about birding at the Baylands.
Baylands Nature Preserve BirdingMore...

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.
( Landfill Timeline )
History of Waste and The BaylandsMore...

Palo Alto Open Space Trail Map

Trail map of all Open Space preserves, including the Bay to Ridge Trail.
( Palo Alto Open Space Trail Map )
Palo Alto Open Space Trail MapMore...

History of Baylands Nature Preserve

History of the John Fletcher Byxbee Recreation Area, more commonly known as the Baylands Nature Preserve.
History of Baylands Nature PreserveMore...

Open Space Medallions - Order Yours Today

Fundraiser for Adopt-a-Park
Open Space Medallions - Order Yours TodayMore...