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Foothills Open Space Preserve


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  • Directions

  • Lat/Lng

    37.34524, -122.17192
  • Size

    230.24 acres

Contact Information


This tiny 212-acre gem’s steep and forested ravines form part of the Adobe Creek watershed above Hidden Villa Ranch. Here you’ll find a grassy ridgetop surrounded by steep, chaparral-covered slopes, with oak-madrone woodland in the ravines and on the north-facing slopes. Though it is unassuming, this preserve is important — it was the very first Midpen preserve!  

The opportunity to purchase the initial 90 acres of this Preserve came at a time when Midpen (known then as the Midpeninsula Regional Park District) was in its infancy and the criteria for land purchases were still being established. When Midpen was formed in 1972, it was a year or so before funds were available to buy land. Later this property was used to obtain a matching grant for the purchase of Stevens Creek Shoreline Nature Study Area!  

Thank you to the small but mighty Foothills Open Space Preserve for kicking off 50 years of land preservation!  

Fun fact: this preserve sits across from the City of Palo Alto’s Foothills Park, but these two similarly named preserves are managed separately from one another! 

Good For
Horseback Riding
Dog Walking
Rules & Regulations
No Biking
No Illegal Substances
Dogs On Leash
No E Bikes

Additional Information


  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed only on designated trails in this Preserve. Must be controlled on a maximum 6-foot leash at all times. Dogs are allowed only in designated preserves or areas as posted. Dog walkers are required to bag and remove all dog waste from the Preserve by packing it out. Moving dog waste off trail is not permitted.  In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Midpen accommodates service dogs in Preserves wherever we allow public access. For more information visit the Dog Access page.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are NOT allowed in this Preserve. For information on preserves open to bikes visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Permits: A use permit is required for any activity or event which: may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR is advertised or noticed in any publication, poster, electronic posting or flyer; OR requests/requires a fee be paid for participation. Visit the Permit page for more information.
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves.
  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution.
  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.