Monday, August 9, 2010

Redtail Loop, Arastradero Preserve


From 280

Exit Page Mill Road (towards Portola Valley)
Right on Arastradero Rd. after 0.3mi
Right into Parking Lot after 0.5mi

The redtail loop is a 1.5 mile walk through perfect rolling hills and tall california native grasses. Just before sunset in the summer is the perfect time to visit. Mice will be active bringing predators to feast, namely raptors who circle high overhead. Once they've locked on to a new meal they'll hover in place and descend to meet their prey. The whole display is stunning to watch and would be a real treat to see once on most trails, on the redtail loop though it is a constant occurrence. After seeing a pair of White Tailed Kites make about 15 passes on the ground it was still amazing to watch.

Once the trail has climbed to the top of a some small foothills it continues along a eucalyptus lined ridge overlooking first Hwy-280. Normally I lament the sight of a highway while in pristine country. Somehow though even the streams of cars are beautiful here. From the top of the ridge Stanford and Palo Alto are also visible.

After following the trail off to the left and heading under the eucalyptus row the trail follows the edge of the park marked by barbed wire. Beyond the fence Felt Lake glimmers with the pinks, oranges, and reds of the sunset. All the while the ocean fog can be seen in the distance spilling quietly over the santa cruz mountains, the very fringe of which is illuminated by the setting sun.

The redtail loop is the perfect vision of the Peninsula at its best, well worth the short drive from Palo Alto to get there, well worth the 1/2 hour it takes to saunter along this beautiful loop.


  1. Ooh more new favorite photos! Waiting for you to publish a book or package of notecards or calendar...

  2. Lovely write-up. One of my favorite hikes. Just a couple of minor corrections: It's 280, not 85, that you see from there. And Enid Pearson Arastradero Preserve is a Palo Alto open space preserve, not a regional open space.

  3. Right you are on both marks. Thanks for the corrections, not sure how I fudged those up in the write up.