Arastradero Preserve
Part 1

Arastradero Preserve
Part 2

Arastradero Preserve
Part 3

Arastradero Preserve Virtual Reality Tour

Arastradero Preserve Stewardship Project




SF Bay
Rec. &

Arastradero Preserve
Part 2 - Acorn and Meadowlark Trails
The Meadowlark Trail heading down to join the Perimeter Trail and Corte Madera Trail near the park entrance

Bay Area Parks

Bay Area Hiking

County Parks


Guided Photo Tour Continued: 

This tour continues from the end of the Corte Madera Trail near the Arastradero Preserve boundary at Foothills Park. The mileage readings are a continuation of the tour in Part 1:

(Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture. Hit the Back button on your browser to return.)
Coming back along the trail, at 2.98 miles, you reach the start of the upper Acorn Trail. Take this trail uphill. 

The first part runs through an oak forest, then climbs steeply through open grasslands.

As you ascend the hill, more of the surrounding hills come into view. You can see the houses on the hills on the east side of the park.

Looking to the southeast, you can see the Arastradero Creek watershed and the hills of Foothills Park.

At 3.08 miles, the trail forks as it runs on both sides of an old oak tree near the top of the hill. The trails rejoin past the oak tree. On the hill are oak plantings. Black plastic on the ground marks a restoration project. The plastic is used to heat up the ground in an effort to control the non-native invasive teasels.

At this altitude, you can see over the nearby hills and catch views of the Bay and Bayshore.

At 3.16 miles, you reach a trail junction. To the left, the Acorn Trail is a narrow path lined with tall grass and (ouch!) prickly yellow starthistles. On the right, the trail leads along the hill to the Meadowlark Trail. Take the Acorn Trail to the left. 

At 3.32 miles, you reach another T-junction. To the right, you can see a wide gravel service road, the Meadowlark Trail. Take a side trip to the right and go down this gravel road to the right. In this area were several buildings. There was a house to the left of the Meadowlark Trail, now marked only by trees surrounding a clearing. Farther down the trail and to the left was a barn. These buildings were disassembled and the wood recycled.

At 3.47 miles, the Meadowlark Trail reaches the junction of the Acorn Trail, which runs along the hill to the right and connects back to the T-junction seen at 3.16 miles. The road continues downhill. However, turn around and backtrack along the gravel road.

At 3.49 miles, a trail leads off to the right. Along it is a picnic table and a rack for tying up horses. Take this side trail.

It runs uphill and ends at the top of a hill at 3.58 miles at a bench under a lone oak tree. A sign says "Aladdin's View." The view from this point is one of the best in the preserve. A good portion of the Bay Area is visible.You can see the skyscrapers of  San Francisco to the north and the buildings of downtown San Jose to the south. Closer in, you can see downtown Palo Alto, and the Stanford Hills. Here are some views from the hill:

The trail dead ends here, so after taking in the view, head back to the gravel service road, which you reach at 3.68 miles. Head back to the Acorn Trail junction, which you reach at 3.78 miles. Take the trail back to the left.

After 3.81 miles, you reach the Acorn Trail T-junction again. Continue on to take the loop to the west. It climbs up to the park boundary at 3.90 miles, then turns right, paralleling the boundary fence. At 3.98 miles, it reaches another T-junction. The path to the left goes uphill into the woods, but it crosses into private property, so don't take it.

From here the trails and hills to the north can be seen. 

Turn right. The trail drops down steeply, then goes up again. At 4.05 miles, it reaches a junction. To the right is a short path to the gravel service road. Take the path to the left.

At 4.09 miles, it comes to a flat open area with paths through it and around it. Take the trail around it to the right. It climbs slightly, drops downhill, then begins to climb uphill. 

This is a view from the hill, looking back down the trail to the hills west of the park.

From the hill, the Meadowlark Trail can be seen on the right. At 4.26 miles, you reach the crest of the hill. The view to the north shows houses in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

At 4.30 miles, you reach a crossroads. Straight ahead, the trail drops down into a steep-sided bowl, obviously a favorite spot for bikes. You can drop into the bowl and have fun riding up and down its sides. There is a path on the far side of the bowl. Otherwise, turn right. At 4.32 miles, under a big oak tree, you reach a trail junction. A trail leads uphill to the right. A trail sign points to the left. Take the trail to the left. From here, you can see the Stanford Hills ahead. The trail runs along the north edge of the bowl and rejoins the trail on the west edge of the bowl at 4.35 miles.

It turns to the right and heads downhill to join the gravel service road. Follow the service road to the left.

At 4.56 miles, it reaches a trail junction at a large oak tree. A bench provides a place to rest. The gravel service road exits the preserve at Gate C at John Marthens Lane, which leads to Arastradero Road near Alpine Road. The trail to the right is the lower Acorn Trail. Take it.

It becomes a double-track dirt trail. It runs across a wide-open field.

It then drops downhill into a gully at 4.77 miles. A small creek runs to the right through here, marked by oaks and coyote bushes.

The trail goes up and over a small hill, where it meets the junction of the Perimeter Trail, which branches off to the left. Bicycles are not allowed on the narrow Perimeter Trail. Continue to the right.

The trail drops down to meet a wide gravel service road at 4.82 miles. To the right, it becomes a paved road just past a bridge over the creek. Do not take this paved road, because it is just a dead end service road to a water tank. Past the bridge, the dirt Acorn Trail continues on, following the far side of the creek. However, for this trip, turn left and follow the gravel service road. At 4.94 miles, it crosses the creek. A dirt footpath goes up to the left to provide access to the Perimeter Trail.

This is a shady route. Even though the creek is likely to be dry, it has a lot of vegetation growing along it. 

At 5.09 miles, the road turns right and goes uphill. At the corner, a foothpath leads through the bushes to the Perimeter Trail. The service road now parallels Arastradero Road, which runs just above it to the left.

At 5.20 miles, it reaches Gate B on Arastradero Road. Note that there is no parking near this gate.

At the gate, the Perimeter Trail (no bicycles) follows along the perimeter fence of the reserve next to Arastradero Road.

Follow the service road to the right. It runs around a field to left that may be covered with teasels. At 5.31 miles, a dirt trail goes up and over a hill to the left. The main trail continues on to the right, then passes through an area of broad, wide-open rolling meadows.

Ahead, the golf course can be seen on the upper hills.

 At 5.39 miles, the service road reaches the junction with the Meadowlark Trail. The service road continues on to the south end of Arastradero Lake, where it meets the Corte Madera Trail (see the 0.87 mile point in Part 1).

  The Meadowlark Trail runs up the hills to the right to where it meets the junction of the gravel service road and the Acorn Trail, seen at 3.47 miles.

Take the Meadowlark Trail to the left.

  It is a dirt double-track that runs along the side of hill. Below the trail on the right, you can see Arastradero Lake, with the golf course on the hills behind it. 

  At 5.57 miles, the trail drops down. You can see the hills of the preserve east of Arastradero Road. The trail curves to the right. You can see Arastradero Road and the stables up the road to the left. At 5.82 miles, you reach the junction of the Perimeter Trail, which comes from the left. An unmarked dirt trail continues on straight ahead. 

The Meadowlark Trail makes a sharp right turn and drops quickly down the hill. At 5.90 miles, it reaches the Corte Madera Trail. An unmarked dirt trail runs along the north side of Aratstradero Creek. Turn left at the Corte Madera Trail and follow it back to the preserve entrance. Cross Arastradero Road and head back to the parking lot, which you reach at 6.15 miles.

For more preserve trails, go to Part 3.

Created  7/8/01, updated 9/27/06 by Ronald Horii