Huddart County Park west of Woodside, Calif., has popular picnic areas that attract noisy crowds; fortunately the hoots of hollering kids fade into the tweets of singing birds within minutes of hitting the trails.
Huddart has a nice mix of redwoods and mixed evergreen forests plus a few expanses of open chaparral. This hike has a just-right mix of shady forest, moderate distance and tolerable ascents. A great one to take the kids on.
Trails on this hike: Dean Trail > Crystal Springs Trail > Campground Trail.
Huddart has over 24 miles of trails; this hike should be just enough to get you interested in more extended explorations. Crystal Springs Trail is especially scenic, and the Miramontes Trail over to Phleger Estate is always worth a look. Pick up a park map at the entrance kiosk for more ideas.
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.
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.