Hike the Woodlands and Redwoods of Wunderlich Park
Sorry Instagram filters, you’re not going to be needed on a quiet wander among the mixed evergreen woodland in Wunderlich Park. Sunlight filters naturally through the trees here, including coast redwoods, the highlight of this 3.4-mile lollipop loop. Clip-clopping horses, running creeks, scampering wildlife, and a historic estate add to the wonder.
Start your hike on the Bear Gulch Trail next to the big Folger Stable—yes, that Folger, of Folgers Coffee. Ascend under deciduous oaks, California bay, Douglas fir, and second-growth coast redwoods. The well-worn trail, dusted with hoof marks, climbs a moderate, respectable grade past tangled brambles, red-barked madrone, and poison oak. In 1.5 miles, turn left onto the Redwood Trail between giant redwood trunks. Presto! A hidden bench sits just inside the shady grove. This is the best spot for a break. Next up, it’s down! Descend the needle-strewn trail past redwoods, green tanoak, and sword fern.
In another half mile, turn left onto the Madrone Trail. The Salamander Pond here was once a reservoir for the Folgers. Today, it’s a breeding ground for rough-skinned newts, a type of salamander with orange bellies. Acorn woodpeckers tap on granary trees above while squirrels scrabble among trunks and logs.
After 0.7 mile, turn right to rejoin Bear Gulch Trail. Retrace your steps to the parking lot, savoring the redwoods once more. Back at the trailhead, take a stroll to see the turn-of-the-century Folger buildings, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Take exit 24 off I-280 for Sand Hill Rd., heading west. Drive 2.0 miles, then turn right onto Portola Rd. Make a quick left in 0.2 mile to stay on Portola Rd. After 0.6 mile, stay straight at a stop sign onto Woodside Rd. / Hwy. 84. The park is on your left in 0.4 mile. The parking fills quickly. It’s a good idea to arrive near 8:00 a.m. to get a spot. Horses are a common sight, as folks board horses here and a concessionaire runs horse activities in the park. No dogs.
*Covid-19 October 2020 Update: Typically you can park alongside Highway 84 and hike into the park, but roadside parking is closed as of fall 2020.*
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