There is a small parking lot for Wunderlich Park, so either arrive early or late to get a spot there. If the lot is full, you can park along Woodside Road.
The trail is good for running from Bear Gulch Trail
up to Salamander Flat. There might be some roots and rocks in the trail, but it is a doubletrack through this area with soft dirt underneath to provide some cushioning.
Anything between Bear Gulch Trail
and Bear Gulch Road is rough, and it will be important to watch where you step as this area is less traveled, and is a singletrack where the vegetation presses in on the trail more.
The Madrone Trail cuts through the center of Wunderlich Park and provides a quiet, shaded run for those looking away to get away from the noise of Silicon Valley. The trail can only be accessed by running up one of the trails that climbs into the park, or from a private drive on Bear Gulch Road. The easiest way to access the trail from the park is via Bear Gulch Trail
, but it can also be accessed by taking the Loop or Alambique Trail
to the Meadow Trail
, and then following that to where the Redwood Trail
breaks off and goes to Salamander Flat. For the purpose of this description, we'll start from Bear Gulch Road at the park boundary.
The trail climbs steeply from Bear Gulch Road along a narrow, singletrack trail. The trail switchbacks a couple of times up the hillside before it rolls through a couple of ditches. The trail then begins to gently climb uphill into the preserve, passing through an area of deciduous trees. The woods push in on the trail, as this section is not heavily traveled like other parts of the trail. Rocks, roots, and some erosion can cause tripping hazards, so watch where you step.
At roughly 0.3 miles, you come to the intersection of Bear Gulch Trail
, where most people who run this trail begin their journey. The trail widens at this point as it enters an area of the park with second growth redwoods and other coniferous trees in it. The trail is noticeably more shaded now as it climbs higher into the preserve. The trail weaves gently along the hillside.
At roughly 0.8 miles, Salamander Pond sits off to the right of the trail and serves as home and breeding ground for the rough-skinned newt. There is an information board that provides information on the newts and the pond's uses when the Folger Estate was a working farm. Salamander Flat, where the pond is located, was the site of the reservoir that provided water to the mansion, fields, and sawmill on the property. Directly across the trail from the pond is a bench where you can rest.
After you have taken a break from all the climbing, continue on a short distance, maybe a tenth of a mile, to where the trail intersects withe the Redwood Trail
. From here, you can follow the Redwood Trail
to the left and end up at the Meadow Trail
, or you can take the Redwood Trail
to the right and run over to Bear Gulch Trail
through a grove of redwoods. Your final option, if you have had enough running for the day, is to turn around and follow the trail back to your car.
Deer and turkeys are common sites in the preserve, although usually at the higher elevations. Mountain Lions have been spotted in the park, so keep an eye out.
The area is home to a second growth redwood forest. New and older redwoods grow along the trail. Eucalyptus trees, a non-native plant to California, can also be seen in sections of the trail as well.