Thursday, October 25, 2012

Featured Trail Route: Los Altos Hills 24.5 miles

Mid-Peninsula Open Space Preserve Running
24.5 mile Los Altos Hills Route

This route takes you through several parks in the Palo Alto and Los Altos area. The run starts at the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve on Arastradero Rd near Page Mill Rd and Highway 280.

 From the preserve parking lot head south momentarily, cross the road and continue heading west on Juan Bautista de Anza Trail for 3/4 of a mile. Turn left onto Ohlone Trail and continue for 1/4 mile. Around the 1 mile mark the trail name changes to Bay Laurel Trail. Turn left at the 1 1/2 mile mark onto Meadowlark Trail and turn right in a 1/4 mile on to the Bowl Loop Trail. Stay to your left and follow that around to the Woodrat Trail. Woodrat is less than a 1/4 mile long. Turn right onto a dirt rd called Arastradero Creek Trail and follow it for 1 1/2 miles where you will pop out onto a paved road in the Palo Alto Foothills Park. Follow that straight forward. A ranger station with a drinking fountain and restroom will be on your right in a quarter mile. This is almost 4 miles into your run and the only spot to refill your water bottles along the way. You may not have drank much by this point but top it off anyway. Continue straight down the road you were on and across the grassy field it dead ends into. The Los Trancos Trail starts here and continues on for a little over 4 miles. Turn right onto the Pony Tracks Fire Road and take an immediate right onto Page Mill Trail. Follow this trail out of the park and into the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. Page Mill Trail lasts for nearly 3miles until it dead ends into Page Mill Road. Turn left on the road and follow it for 1/4 mile. BE CAREFUL!!! Cars, motorcycles and cyclists love to fly through these blind corners. Turn right onto Canyon Trail and follow it for 1 1/2 miles until you see Indian Creek Trail on your left. This is just over a miles worth of very steep climbing. Your 13 miles into the run at this point and if you may need to walk most of this. Did I mention it's very steep. Near the top of this climb you will turn right on Montebello Road. Campsites are in this area and a restroom is less than a 1/4 mile away if you turn left instead. Montebello Road is a dirt fire road that climbs slightly for a 1/4 mile. Turn left at the buildings and left again onto Black Mountain Trail. Everything up until this point has been a net uphill. The next 10 miles is a net downhill.
Enjoy the views running down Black Mountain Trail for nearly 4 miles. These are some of the best views of the entire bay you can get. Anybody who has been down this stretch of trail will tell you the view is fantastic. Black Mountain Trail takes you to Rhus Ridge Trail on your left. That trail drops you onto its namesake, Rhus Ridge Road. To get back to the Pearson- Arastradero Preserve follow Rhus Ridge Road, turn right onto Moody Rd, left onto Elena Road which will dead end into Purissma Rd. Go left for 3/4 of a mile, turn left onto Arastradero Rd, left onto Page Mill Road and right onto Arastradero Rd where you will come to the Preserve parking lot in about a 1/2 mile. The road running portion of this course at the end starts at mile 19 and lasts for the final 5 1/2 miles. Foothill College is very close to the corner of Moody Rd and Elena Rd. If you need a restroom or drinking fountain this is your chance and you wont get off course by much.