Just off I-280 in the tony burg of Woodside is Huddart Park
, a 972-acre respite with quiet trails curving through canyons and among stately second-growth redwoods. Picnic spots, grassy meadows, and a playground are all part of the attraction. For a good 4.5-mile hike with modest ups and downs, combine the well-maintained Dean and Crystal Springs Trails. The path starts along McGarvey Gulch and skirts under giant redwoods. Within minutes, massive redwood stumps are stalwart reminders of the logging days from decades ago (new redwoods have since been planted in homage to their ancestors). After a mile, cross McGarvey Creek, which currently will have little to no water in it. In another half-mile reach the Crystal Springs Trail and zigzag through a woody land of oaks, madrones, and California bay trees. Soon you’ll be back in the redwoods. Keep an eye out for some big leaf maple trees toward the end of Crystal Springs Trail.
TIP: The Little Store (3340 Woodside Rd., Woodside), a cozy roadside restaurant with red-and-white-checkered tablecloths, is a great place to enjoy a post-hike bite. The warm Napa cabbage salad is delicious.
From I-280 near Palo Alto, exit Woodside Rd. and drive west. In 1.5 miles turn right on Kings Mountain Rd. and follow it 2 miles to the entrance, where you can pick up a map. Park in the Miwok Picnic Area. Follow the Dean Trail left toward Crystal Springs Trail. Stay on the Dean Trail for 1.5 miles until you reach Crystal Springs Trail and turn right. Stay on Crystal Springs Trail for 2.3 miles until it comes to the Dean Trail again. Turn right on the Dean Trail and follow it back to the trailhead. No dogs. The Little Store is open on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.