|A hike of the future
Upper Bear Creek Redwoods
As part of the master plan process for our two local open space
preserves, Midpeninsula Open Space offered tours of areas previously
off-limits during May and June. Although they attracted surprisingly
few people, the tours gave us an opportunity to discover new local
trails. What could be better than walking a trail for the first
time, a trail that others havenít experienced. Itís not exactly like
being Gaspar de Portola, but you could call us explorers. After all,
the trails were new to us.
Although the area of Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve west of Bear
Creek Road has been closed to the public, even by permit, it has
a lot to offer: relatively easy grades on well maintained logging
roads, a few large old growth redwoods, shady mixed forest with wide
diversity in trees and smaller plants, some small but lovely
waterfalls on Webb Creek, and occasional views across Lexington
Reservoir toward Mt. Thayer. Not bad when you consider that we saw
all this on one trail only a few miles and a few hours long.
On our tour, we parked at the main gate parking lot (BC04), and then
were carpooled up to gate BC09 across the road from the lake at
Presentation Center. Although this saved us some uphill walking,
future hikers may not have it so easy. They may have to cross over
Bear Creek from the main parking area, enter gate BC05, then walk up
a slow grade until the road turns south. From this point, the road
follows the contour lines with little change in grade.
On our tour from gate BC09, we headed uphill a relatively short
distance to a wide and substantial bridge intersecting Webb Creek
and many little waterfalls. We continued north along a wide dirt
road through mixed forest and occasional grassy meadows. We enjoyed
the shade of large trees, saw a unique root formation, visited two
large old growth redwoods, listened to the complex songs of winter
wrens, tasted minerís lettuce, and smelled the mint of hedge nettle.
Our trail ended, too soon, at gate BC05. We crossed Bear Creek Road,
and walked a short way down to the parking area at gate BC04.
From Midpen maps, it appears that several other trails parallel the
one we hiked. It looks like at least one could form a loop,
eliminating some backtracking or the need for parking cars at each
end of the trail. Hopefully, Midpen will give us the opportunity for
If you would like more information, visit www.openspace.org. And if
you would like to see these trails open to the public, write Ana
Ruiz, project planner, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District,
330 Distel Circle, Los Altos, California 94022, email email@example.com,
or call 650-691-1200.