Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Los Altos

4.8
#282 of 505 in Wildlife in California
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is a regional park located in San Mateo County, California and operated by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD). It is readily identifiable from the flatlands of the South Bay, as it is the only "naked" part of the peninsula range (not forested).
The Windy Hill Preserve comprises an important 1132 acre (4.6 km2) stretch of conservation land on the eastward side of the Peninsula Range (Santa Cruz Mountains), rising from the valley road near Portola Valley to the 1905 ft (581 m) summit from which it gets its name. Access to the summit is easy (0.5 mile moderate grade) from State Route 35, the ridge road along the Peninsula Range. Facilities focus on trails for hiking and mountain biking, with around 14 miles (22 km) of hiking trails. In clear weather there are magnificent views from the summit, and indeed the entire upper end of the park, across the campus of Stanford University to the San Francisco Bay and beyond to Mount Tamalpais and Mount Diablo. Downtown San Francisco is visible, as well as the Pacific Ocean.
Most of Windy Hill is sheltered from the prevailing weather, which comes in off of the Pacific Ocean. A nice day further down can be very cold, windy, foggy or rainy at the summit.
A visit to Windy Hill Open Space Preserve represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Los Altos trip planning site to plot your vacation.
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Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
28 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We enjoy this hike because you can bring your dog on leash. Parking: Lot is available, but gets full on weekends. You can take the longer hike up toward Skyline for nice views ... if you do, take the ...  more »
  • This park was an incredible surprise- even after reading the reviews! Every view was amazing- east and west! Yes, it was windy, but there were easy walks or challenging hike. You gotta go.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful views! You can start a ~6mi hike from the Alpine Rd. entrance or drive to almost the top which makes for just a short trek to the summit. Perfect if you have small kids. Our 11yo was able to do the long hike, no problem. Dogs allowed on leash. Restrooms and water only at the Alpine trail entrance, so plan accordingly! It's a steep incline. Go early, because it gets hot. We arrived at 9 and weren't back at the car until noon-- mostly because I'm so slow! My family probably could have done it in 2 hours without me. Trail is clear and not too bumpy to walk. It's gravelly in some parts. Watch out for bikes-- some of them go really fast.
  • Windy Hill is a great spot for panoramic views. On clear days you can view the ocean and the bay. You can enjoy as either an easy walk by driving to the top, or a beautiful hike from the bottom starting in Portola Valley. Starts in trees and turns to open meadows with beautiful scenery.

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