A new trail
Stanford’s New Matadero Trail

Neil Wiley

After ten years of controversy, Stanford has opened a new trail, one of two required to satisfy a land-use agreement made in 2000 with Santa Clara County. Unlike “sidewalk” trails that simply follow an existing street, the unpaved pedestrian section of Matadero Trail wanders diagonally across an open field and up over a ridge line, offering excellent views of Stanford, Moffett Field, San Francisco Bay, and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Although it isn’t a wilderness experience, the twists and turns, ups and downs, and changing scenery offer an interesting mile-plus walk from the intersection of Arastradero Road and Interstate 280 to Deer Creek Road at Page Mill Road. At Deer Creek Road, the trail continues along Page Mill Road as a paved multi-purpose pedestrian/bicycle trail to Foothill Expressway. Bicycle lanes are also planned along Deer Creek Road from Page Mill to Arastradero. This route will join an existing multi-purpose trail on Arastradero, and a trail that runs under Interstate 280 to connect with Arastradero Preserve. (You can read about this open-space area by clicking “Arastradero” in the hikes-and-explorations section of www.mnn.net.)

Matadero Trail is well worth the drive, but it isn’t perfect. Finding parking is difficult. Although I parked across the street from the Arastradero entrance, there are few legal on-street spaces.

On a cloudy, dark day, the views may be obscured, but even worse, on a hot, bright summer day, you’ll notice that the trail has no shade, not one tree. Be sure to wear a hat. Also, bring your own water. The trail offers no facilities.

In spite of these limitations, the Matadero Trail is worth walking, especially if you like long views, open meadows, and little ups and downs on a relatively short hike.

To reach Matadero Trail, drive on Interstate 280 north to east Page Mill Road. Turn right at Deer Creek Road, and right on Arastradero Road to Horseshoe Lane. Find a legal place to park on either side of Arastradero Road. The trail head is on the north side of the road to the east of the Interstate 280 underpass. Follow the paved trail east, and then turn left at the first trail intersection.