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Los Trancos Open Space Preserve



  • Directions

  • Size

    274.01 acres

Contact Information


Los Trancos Open Space Preserve is a 274-acre area located in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Palo Alto. This is an ideal spot to learn about earthquake geology. The San Andreas Fault, one of the world's longest and most active faults, splits the preserve.

The Preserve is situated at about 2,000 feet and always has fresh air scented with pungent bay leaves, sweet grass, and damp woods. Here, visitors will find a pleasant environment of rolling grassland knolls alternating with oak woodland and cool shaded forest. On a clear day, one can spot the gleaming skyscrapers of San Francisco and pick out Mt. Diablo across the bay.

Once part of a 13,300-acre ranch in the nineteenth century, the land that was to become Los Trancos Preserve was purchased in the early 1900s by Louis Oneal, a San Jose attorney and state senator who raised horses and owned the nearby O&O Breeding Stables. The property changed hands in the 1950s, and in the 1960s Palo Alto ran water and power lines to it, in anticipation of residential development. The Livingston-Blarney report detailing the high cost of providing city services to the foothills stopped a proposed subdivision. The District acquired most of the property in 1976.

The 1.5-mile San Andreas Fault Trail was established in 1977 with volunteer assistance from former Foothill College geology professor Tim Hall and his students.

Allowed Activities
Horseback Riding
Rules & Regulation
No Biking
No Dogs
No Illegal Substances
No E Bikes

Additional Information


  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Dogs: Dogs are NOT allowed in this Preserve. For information on dog-friendly preserves visit the Dog Access page. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Midpen accommodates service dogs in Preserves wherever we allow public access.
  • 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.


The preserve's entrance is on Page Mill Road, 7 miles west of Highway 280 and 1.5 miles east of Skyline Boulevard. Parking is available for 20 vehicles. Additional parking and restroom facilities are available at the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve parking area, located directly across Page Mill Road.