Golden Gate National Recreation Area/County of San Mateo,
San Mateo County
4.6 mile out and back through redwoods at a preserve extremely well-used by equestrians.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 4.6 mile out and back hike is easy, with about 400 feet in elevation change. Trailhead elevation is about 760 feet. The park's highest point is about 2000 feet.
2 1/2 hours.
Nice any time.
From Interstate 280 in San Mateo County, exit CA 84 (Woodside Road). Drive west about 1.5 miles, then turn right onto Kings Mountain Road. Drive about 2 miles on this narrow and winding road (watch out for deer, cyclists, and motorcyclists), then turn right into Huddart County Park. Once past the entrance kiosk, park in the lot on the left.
You may also enter the park from Skyline Boulevard. Park at MROSD's Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve (the PC03 gate, not the main Purisima parking lot), cross Skyline Boulevard to enter Huddart, and then walk north into Phleger.
A third access is via Crystal Springs Trail east of Phleger. This saves you the $6 entrance fee, but the walk to Crystal Springs Trail is not as pleasant as the wooded trails of Huddart. (If you're not familiar with the area, refer to a map.) Turn west off Cañada Road onto Runnymede, then park at the curve in the road, where Runnymede changes to Raymundo. Walk on the side of the road about .75 mile to the end of Raymundo, and take Crystal Springs Trail into Huddart (you come out on Richard's Road Trail), then turn right and hike a little over 0.5 mile to the Phleger entrance on the right side of the trail.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, restaurants, and picnic supplies available at Woodside, about 2.5 miles south. The only camping in the park is youth group camps.
$6 entrance fee (self-registration if entry kiosk is unstaffed). Plenty of parking. Maps available at the entry kiosk, or at the self-registration station. Restrooms near picnic areas; refer to map. Pay phone at the Chickadee Trailhead; on the right just past the entry kiosk. There is no direct public transportation to the park.
No bikes or dogs. Trails are open to horses and hikers only.
The Official Story:
GGNRA's Phleger page.
CSMP's Huddart page.
Huddart park office 650-851-1210
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Map from NPS
CSMP's Huddart map
Nice page with great map from Nature Conservancy
Afoot and Afield: San Francisco Bay Area, by David Weintraub (order this book from Amazon.com) has a great map and descriptions of a Phleger Estate hike.
The Trail Center's Trail Map of the Central Peninsula is a great map of the park (order this map from Amazon.com).
Tom Taber's The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book has a simple map (order this book from Amazon.com).
Peninsula Trails, by Jean Rusmore, has a simple map, preserve descriptions, and suggested hikes (order this book from Amazon.com).
View 58 photos from the featured hike.
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
talk about Phleger Estate in glowing, reverent terms. I
feel somewhat chagrined to admit I don't share their enthusiasm. Quiet,
second growth redwoods are not uncommon in the bay area, or in the Santa
Cruz Mountains. Why make such a fuss about the northernmost redwoods on
the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains? Yes, the trails are quiet
(open to equestrians and hikers only), but I think that's because GGNRA
(and local land owners) have made it so difficult to figure out how you
even get into Phleger from the most commonly visited east side of the
park. Miramontes Trails, as it winds along West Union Creek, is lovely,
but tall chain link fences (topped with barbed wire) marking private property,
and traffic noises drifting from Interstate 280 are not lovely. I can
think of numerous other parks and preserves, in the south bay alone, that
offer more natural and less controlled romps through redwoods (Purisima,
El Corte de Madera, Portola, Memorial, Wunderlich....). Still, as fellow
bay area hiker Bill says, Phleger has the best trail signs out
there; a metal profile of a Native American on horseback, with the trail name
hanging on a wooden plank beneath. It's worth (at least once anyway) the
trip just to see them.