Arastradero Regional Preserve is an easily accessible park that offers a good trail network, suitable for hiking, mountain biking, trail running and horse back riding. It offers great views on the nearby hills, and the San Francisco Bay.
Drove to this trail to take my dog on a walk. Not many trails around San Mateo/Alameda allow dogs, so this trail looks promising. I'm a hiker who likes steep inclines and tough workouts where it's a strenuous feat to average more than three miles an hour. This trail is anything but that.
The trail starts off parallel to a road, but this does not last long as you turn Southwest onto a dirt road. A bike designed for roads could do this trail without much hassle; in fact, we saw a few bikers doing just that. This is also a perfect horseback trail to go solo on.
The only primary attraction is the lake. In the winter, I'd imagine that there are streams feeding into a clear, blue lake. However, this is summer, and the lake is entirely stagnant. The reflection appears more of a dark muddy color than the sky, due in part to the trees on the south side of the lake.
There are some great views at select locations of the trail, but not nearly enough considering that 85-90% of the loop is unguarded by trees. The only relatively moderate elevation gain comes at the switchback just past the entrance of Woodrat Trail.
This is a great trail to take toddlers and young children on, and you can shorten the loop in a variety of ways. This is a great beginner MTB trail and a nice, peaceful trot can be done with your horse. This is not, however, a hiking trail.
Love this place but the trails are too short. Pretty nicely maintained. Nothing really technical and great for beginners. Some rolling terrains and single tracks. Lots of horse dodos but horseback riders are very nice and yield to bikers.
The climbs here are moderate but definitely no need to HAB. Good place for a quick work out. It's close by and does not require the drive up to Skyline for some fun.
Kathryn S. on Redtail Meadowlark Loop Trail
Love this place! Lots of great birding-- chickadees, bluebirds, wrens, swallows, kites, woodpeckers, buntings, and flycatchers. Pretty oak woodlands and rolling hills. Nice view of the pond and great sounds of chorus frogs. Sometimes large gopher snakes cross the trail too which is fun but kinda scary at first glance. Watch out for ticks and poison oak! And bring sunscreen and water. Gets hot in the hills!
A very short route that can be completed in less than one hour. Better for cyclists or runners than hikers. Most of the crowds here were cyclists. Not very interesting really but if you're local to Palo Alto this is nice and close.
There are toilet facilities by the car park at the start of the trail. Maps and information on the preserve can be found in the nearby office for free. There isn't very much parking and no street parking nearby (at least not that we saw). But parking is free.
Overall a very short and easy route. If that's your thing then this is a nice spot. For those that prefer more intense hikes give this one a miss.
Kate H. on Redtail Meadowlark Loop Trail
Nice easy walk. Perfect for nature lovers. Lots of various water fowel.
In high school Arastradero Preserve would be the 2nd (the first being Rancho San Antonio) where our cross country coach would take us for weekend workouts. Though the trails itself aren't confusing, some can be kinda difficult (but if you walk or exercise on a regular basis you should be ok). There are rattlesnakes and ticks there so be careful. Please be courteous to bikers, for there are quite a large amount of them at Arastradero. It's also a favorite place for dog-owners, though they aren't allowed to go off-leash.
The trails itself, like I previously mentioned, aren't too confusing. Unlike Rancho San Antonio, no matter which trail you take to go up you'll eventually walk back down towards the parking lot//main road as long as you keep on the trails. The lake is spectacular and it's a very relaxing place to go.