Combine two fine loops in one great hike on this eight-mile route at Huddart County Park west of Woodside.
The abundance of redwood forests and mixed evergreens along this route is a stark contrast to the busy picnic areas of the poplar park and the massive sprawl of Silicon Valley just a few miles to the east.
Trails on this hike: Dean Trail > Chinquapin Trail > Archery Fire Road > Chinquapin Trail > Dean Trail > Crystal Springs Trail.
You can shorten this hike almost in half by leaving out the loop on Chinquapin Trail and Archery Fire Road, but you'd be missing a great chance for solitude on some of the less-traveled areas of the park.
Best times to go: With its abundance of shade, this is a nice all-year park, though summer might be a bit warm. The rest of the year it'll quite comfortable. Spring wildflowers will be memorable.
Stop by the AIDS Memorial Grove just off the Dean Trail for a moving tribute to those who died from the devastating disease.
Contact: (650) 851-1210
Parking: $5; follow signs to Zwierlein Trail Heads parking area
Hours: 8 a.m. to around dusk (closing varies according to season).
Limitations: No dogs or other pets
Driving directions: From Interstate 280 in San Mateo County, take the Woodside Road exit (California Highway 84). Go west through town of Woodside for about 1.5 miles, then go right on Kings Mountain Road. Go about 2 miles to the park entrance on the right.
Nice hike, though it did not meet my expectations. Perhaps, my expectations had been set unreasonably high from the fabulous Purisima Preserve hike just a few minutes drive away! If you are in the neighborhood for a limited time and can do only one, drive to Purisima!
Hike was anticlimactic plus I made the mistake of starting along the Dean trail and working my way past screaming kids and BBQ's for the first 20-30 minutes. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that - but I was excited to hike in peace. (it was a crowded Saturday in August, too).
Once you get past the Dean trail you will work your way away from the road into very peaceful forest. The forest is pretty dense, enough that I never really felt sunshine hitting me, on an otherwise sunny day.
There are no obvious lookouts or Places of particular interest. There is a Teepee towards the middle of the hike near the Skyline Junction, but that was about the most obvious point of differentiation from the rest of the trail.
I don't want it to sound like this is a bad hike, just want to align your expectations appropriately. Of course, it is always great to get out of the city and enjoy 8 miles worth of walking in forest!