Mid-Peninsula Parks

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A long day hike that requires a bit of car shuttling is a tour of four parks: Huddart, Purisima, Corte de Madera and Wunderlich. Leave one car at Wunderlich (it might be safer to park it on the road outside the park than inside the park because you might get a parking ticket if you end the hike after park closure time). Then drive to the end of Runnymede Road, near Canada College (that's as far as you can park legally). Walk up Raymundo to the dead end (about 1km): that's the southern entrance to Huddart Park (don't ask me why it's illegal to park at a park entrance). After descending and crossing the foot bridge, turn right and immediately left to hike up Crystal Springs Trail, Dean's Trail and Chinquapin Trail (or the boring Archery Fire Rd). You will go through a large picnic area where things get a bit confusing but there are a lot of signs around. Once you get to the Skyline (highway 35), cross it and look to your right: there's a small parking lot which is the trailhead to Purisima Creek trail. This is another boring unpaved road for hikers and bikers that loses all the elevation you gained. Almost at the bottom, turn right into Grabtown Gulch trail and then right again on Bald Knob Trail. When you get to the messy junction with the Irish Ridge trail (for some reason the other two trails of that junction are not on the map) look to your right: there is a gate. That is the trail to the top of Bald Knob. The view is disappointing to say the least. To get good views you have to continue down (very steep) the Irish Ridge trail (which eventually leaves the Purisima Preserve and connects with the Irish Ridge Rd which merges with Lobitos Creek Rd towards highway 1 and the ocean). Then retrace your steps to the junction with the Grabtown Trail but this time turn right (east) to reach the paved Tunitas Creek Rd. Turn left and walk up Tunitas Creek for 2 kms and turn right into Star Hill Rd. Pay attention to your left. After about 20 minutes (where the houses end) there is an unmarked gated entrance with a cryptic sign CM07. That's the entrance to Corte de Madera Park. That trail splits: you can go noth to El Corte de Madera trail and Resolution trail, or south to North Leaf trail. The south branch is probably prettier if a bit longer. This turns into the Methuselah trail. Turn left on the Fir Trail. This will eventually take you to Skeggs Point on the Skyline (highway 35). Along the way you might want to take the short detour to the Vista Point that has faint views of the ocean. When you reach Skeggs Point, there is unfortunately no easy way to get to the Bay Area Ridge trail that runs all around the Bay Area because that area is closed with barbed wire (for mysterious reasons). Turn right (east) and keep walking along the highway until the barbed wire ends. Then bushwhack down to the trail: it's a very short (two or three minutes) but very steep adventure. Then continue east (right) on the trail. The trail is mostly flat and will pass a few colossal homes. You are coasting private property. Eventually you will reach a sign about the Alambique trail: that means you entered Wunderlich Park. (Alternatively from the dead end of Fir Trail turn right into the Sierra Morena trail and continue to the dead end, then cross the highway and you'll be at the Alambique trailhead). Follow Alambique trail all the way down to the parking lot (or take the prettier Bear Gulch trail to your left half way into the descent). This will take a while (9 kms, or two hours). When you get down you will pass a historical monument to the right (the Folger Stable) to reach the parking lot of Wunderlich Park. In 2012 this park had a big sign that said it closes at 5pm: it is unlikely that you will complete this four-park route by 5pm.
  • Footbridge entering Huddart Park 1km 15'
  • Skyline 6km 1h30'
  • Bald Knob 11km 4h15'
  • Corte de Madera 15km 5h45'
  • Vista Point 20km 7h15'
  • Bay Area Ridge 23kms trail 8h
  • Wunderlich Park 25kms 8h30'
  • Wunderlich parking lot 34kms 10h30'

Maps (Click to enlarge)





Corte de Madera



See also:
  • Pescadero Creek, Sam McDonald, Memorial Parks, Portola Redwoods
  • Purisima
  • Pictures