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Arastradero Preserve Loop

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

5.3 mile 8.6 kilometer loop
94% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 626' 191 m
Descent: -618' -188 m
High: 737' 225 m
Low: 294' 90 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (3°)
Max Grade: 15% (8°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Doug Baer

A nice loop in a beautiful preserve area, just a bit off the beaten path. Features a lake and quite a bit of wildlife.

Doug Baer

Features Lake · Views

The website/map says it is open 8 am to dark EVERY DAY, but some trails may be closed seasonally. Current information is posted at the parking lot.

Overview

This is a nice trail system just off the beaten path. There is a good amount of parking and restrooms and water fountains. I saw several jackrabbits and a couple of coyotes.

Need to Know

Parking area and restrooms(!!) open at 6am (ish) and close around dusk (the sign said 9 pm when I was there in early July).

Runner Notes

There are bathrooms at the parking area on Arastradero. Plan your route and have a map with you or use the Trail Run Project mobile app. It is pretty easy to miss a turn.

Description

My first trip on this loop, I had the map downloaded to my phone so I could take the planned route. While there are some good signs, it can be confusing if you build a route using multiple trail offshoots like I did here.

This loop features some good hills and nice views. There are no traffic lights to worry about and it was not crowded at all when I went early on a weekday. My start/stop was at the parking lot on 1530 Arastradero Rd, which has drinking fountains (for you and your pet) and restrooms. Much of the trail is dirt singletrack or doubletrack, but there are some areas "paved" with gravel, and it looks like they are going through the main trails with gravel to help preserve them and/or make them more accessible.

I started with the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail and then broke off to the Wild Rye Trail to head up the hill where it met with the Paseo del Roble Trail at Arastradero Lake, where it turned into the Arastradero Creek Trail, which I followed until it met with the Woodrat Trail. That trail is aided by some nice switchbacks up another hill -- all packed dirt, so probably not a good plan after rain. I followed the path to the Meadowlark Trail and then took Woodland Star Trail and Bay Laurel Trail to the Ohlone Trail that connected me back to the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail. That got me back onto the Meadowlark Trail, which turned into the Portola Pastures Trail back out to the road (Arastradero). I crossed the road and took an abbreviated version of the Redtail Loop back to the parking area.

It sounds pretty confusing, but I took this opportunity to create the route and try to learn it. I think I can run it next time without stopping to look at the map nearly as frequently.

There is a also a great map available from the city of Palo Alto: cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/…

Flora & Fauna

In July the flowers were gone, but there are oak trees and I saw many jackrabbits, a pair of coyotes, and some kind of raptor hunting in one of the fields. Lots of little field mice, I think.

History & Background

There is a lake that this route hugs early on. In the morning, it is pretty calm and you may see the steam rising off the water.

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Check-Ins

Jan 18, 2020
Doug Baer
Oct 19, 2019
Manu Chantra
5.7mi — 0h 48m
Oct 6, 2019
Jim C
Watch says 4.34 mi, but this app says trails is 5.34 mi. 4.3mi — 1h 00m
Jul 5, 2019
Adam Taylor
Second time here, pretty good run. 10mi
Jul 5, 2019
Weston Welge
5.3mi — 1h 20m
Apr 14, 2019
Corey B
nice scenery. but engineered. somewhat crowded.
Aug 7, 2018
Doug Baer
5mi — 0h 51m
Aug 7, 2018
Michael Abramovitch
With some backtracking 6mi

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 13 votes

#2823

Overall
  3.6 from 13 votes
5 Star
8%
4 Star
46%
3 Star
46%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Run Rankings

#441

in California

#2,823

Overall
161 Views Last Month
3,097 Since Jul 15, 2017
Easy/Intermediate

18%
45%
36%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Red-tailed hawk
Apr 22, 2015 near Ladera, CA
Arastradero coyote
Apr 22, 2015 near Ladera, CA
The trees that line the hills make for great photo opportunities in the preserve. The trail winds through the preserve at the base of a majority of the hills.
Apr 12, 2016 near Los Alt…, CA
A bench rests under a shade tree as the trail can be seen in the background. This is a good place to rest before continuing on your way.
Apr 6, 2016 near Ladera, CA
Felt Lake, Stanford Dish, and the East Bay stretch out before you from the trail.
Apr 5, 2016 near Ladera, CA
Sunset in the preserve.  The view toward the Redtail Loop Trail and the surrounding hills.
Mar 31, 2016 near Ladera, CA

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