Project: Portola Redwoods State Park (Upper Coyote Ridge Trail)

Photo Album: 1610 Portola Redwoods SP/Pescadero Creek CP

On Saturday, Oct. 8 the Trail Center returned to complete work on the Upper Coyote Ridge Trail that spans Portola Redwoods State Park and Pescadero Creek County Park. We were blessed with four crew leaders, Hank, Bill, Dave C., and Aaron and a great mix of 24 experienced and new volunteers. It was a little warmer than ideal, but most of the work had the benefit of the cover of redwoods, Douglas firs, and oaks. We staged from the Tarwater Trailhead in Pescadero Creek County Park, at the north end of the trail.

We focused on removing low vegetation, especially berry vines, at the south and north ends of the trail and a few sections in between we weren't able to get in August. We also improved the tread on some switchbacks to reduce the chance of shortcutting. We covered approximately 0.6 miles of trail.

A bit of trivia: Long-time volunteer Ken pointed out that the Trail Center originally built the Upper Coyote Ridge Trail over a few work days in 1992-93. Check the photo album link for some clippings from the old newsletters.

Particularly in the portion of the trail in Pescadero Creek park, once vines were cut back Hank's crew had to do a significant amount of duff and soil removal to restore the inside edge of the trail and gain full bench width. Bill's crew did similar work just inside the north border in the Portola Redwoods section and worked a particularly overgrown switchback and stretch just before the westward vista.

Aaron's crew worked the mid-section of the trail to open up tread that ran primarily on the ridgeline. As the canopy is less dense there, poison oak was more prevalent. His crew ended by helping Bill's wrap up.

Finally, Dave C's crew started at the south junction with Coyote Ridge Trail and removed a lot of tough vines that had narrowed the first 0.1 mile of trail. They continued north addressing other overgrowth, several areas of tread that needed leveling, and a snag. They ended up in the north area under the redwoods removing duff from the inside edge and sending a few people to help Hank's crew complete their stretch.

As there still hadn't been any measurable rain on the trail, it was not feasible to even out the tread much where the soil was clay-like. We will pass on to state parks staff that this might be good to do if they had time in early spring.

Special thanks to Kathy for helping to determine the work and flag in advance of this work day.

- Judd Volino
10/12/16

Dedicated in 1872, Alum Rock Regional Park is California's oldest municipal park. Located in the foothills of the Diablo Mountain Range, the park is nestled within the steep confines of the Alum Rock Canyon along Penitencia Creek, which bisects the Park and flows year-round. Once home to the Ohlone Indians, Alum Rock Park features rugged ridges with spectacular views of the Santa Clara Valley, geologic formations including mineral springs and evidence of seismic events, and a wide variety of native flora and fauna (map).

The park’s 740 acres of natural, rugged, beauty provide visitors with many leisure outdoor activities including over 13 miles of unpaved hiking trails varying from fairly level along Penitencia Creek to sharp switchbacks climbing to the ridges to the South Rim and North Rim Trails. The northern trails are open to mountain biking and provide a gateway to the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority’s Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. The narrow floor of the canyon includes a visitor center, picnic areas, a playground, and sand volleyball pits.

The canyon at Alum Rock has abundant mineral springs, which were touted as beneficial to people's health. In the late 1800s and through the 1930s, the park was famed throughout the country as a health resort. Through those years and as late as the 1970s, the park featured a natatorium (a huge, heated indoor swimming pool), dozens of private heated mineral baths that visitors could rent, a restaurant, and various other buildings. Many of the springs were enclosed in stonework grottos, and stone bridges were built across the creek. An electric railroad brought people from San Jose into the park. In the 1970s, the park removed most of the buildings and began emphasizing the park's natural attractions rather than its manmade ones. However much of the attractive stonework remains, as do old support structures for the railroad.

Special features of the park include 13 miles of hiking trails, the Penitencia Creek which transects the entire park, the Mineral Springs area that contains active mineral springs and grottos, the Gazebo and the Log Cabin which was constructed in 1913.

Website: Alum Rock Park Overview, Alum Rock Park Facility Details

Location: Alum Rock Regional Park, San Jose, California - South Rim Trail

Directions: Access is currently available only from Penitencia Creek Road. Use caution if following Internet-based maps to the park! Some lead you to a closed gate. The following address may be used to reach the park entrance with Bing, Apple or Google Maps.

Address: 15295 Penitencia Creek Road San Jose, CA 95132 - (408) 794-7275.

From San Francisco / the Peninsula:

  1. Take US-101 or I-280 south to I-680.
  2. Take I-680 north toward Sacramento (I-280 turns into I-680 in south San Jose).
  3. Take the McKee Road exit, and merge right onto McKee Road heading east towards the hills.
  4. Continue about 0.8 mile along McKee Road.
  5. Turn left on White Road, and continue about 1.2 miles.
  6. Turn right onto Penitencia Creek Road and follow it for about 1.2 miles to the Park Entrance.
  7. After entering the park, follow Penitencia Creek Road to the end of the park, about 2 miles. Speed limit is 20 MPH.
  8. Park and follow the signs to the Sycamore Grove Picnic area / Sycamore Switchbacks Trail trailhead.
  9. Be sure to display your parking pass on front windshield.

From Oakland / I-880 corridor:

  1. Take I-880 south toward San Jose.
  2. Take the Warren Ave/Mission Blvd exit toward I-680. Keep left, follow signs for Mission Blvd/I-680 and continue onto Mission Blvd.
  3. Take the I-680 S ramp toward Milpitas. Merge onto I-680.
  4. Take the Berryessa Rd exit.
  5. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Berryessa R. East, merge onto Berryessa Rd and continue for about 0.6 mile.
  6. Turn Right onto N Capitol Ave and continue for about 0.3 mile.
  7. Turn left onto Penitencia Creek Rd and follow it for about 2 miles to the Park Entrance.
  8. After entering the park, follow Penitencia Creek Road to the end of the park, about 2 miles. Speed limit is 20 MPH.
  9. Park and follow the signs to the Sycamore Grove Picnic area / Sycamore Switchbacks Trail trailhead.
  10. Be sure to display your parking pass on front windshield.

From the East Bay / I-680 Corridor:

  1. Take the I-680 S toward San Jose.
  2. Take the Berryessa Rd exit.
  3. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Berryessa R. East, merge onto Berryessa Rd and continue for about 0.6 mile.
  4. Turn Right onto N Capitol Ave and continue for about 0.3 mile.
  5. Turn left onto Penitencia Creek Rd and follow it for about 2 miles to the Park Entrance.
  6. After entering the park, follow Penitencia Creek Road to the end of the park, about 2 miles. Speed limit is 20 MPH.
  7. Park and follow the signs to the Sycamore Grove Picnic area / Sycamore Switchbacks Trail trailhead.
  8. Be sure to display your parking pass on front windshield.

Agency: San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services

Supervisor: Bill Farrell

Project Lead: Larry Stites

Additional Information: Participants should bring water, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, lunch and normal precautions against poison oak exposure (work gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants).

It can be quite cool in the canyon so dress in layers.

The Trail Center provides tools, training, gloves, and refreshments after the workday.

SIGNUP REQUIRED

The park normally imposes a $6.00 parking fee. Signup for the event to receive a free day-pass and notification of any schedule changes.

Inclement weather conditions may postpone this event.

  • Volunteers 14 and under require prior approval by the project manager and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Individual volunteers age 15 to 17 require a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
  • Groups of volunteers age 15 to 17 require a waiver signed by a parent or guardian for each individual and must be accompanied by one or more supervising adults for every 5 minors.
  • Contact the trail center (volunteer@trialcenter.org) to obtain approval and waivers prior to arrival.

Meet at 8:30 a.m. for safety talk and crew assignments. We will start work at 9:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m.

The Bay Area Ridge Trail ultimately will be a 500+ mile trail encircling the San Francisco Bay along the ridge tops, open to hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. So far over 330 miles of trail has been dedicated for use by Bay Area residents, now and forever.

The REI-Ridge Trail Service day is an annual event in which the Trail Center has participated for many years. This year, we'll be working in the Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve, partnering with staff from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Dedicated as part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, the nearly two-mile multi-use Saratoga Gap trail parallels Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35), and connects with trails leading to Sanborn-Skyline County Park, Castle Rock and Big Basin State Parks, Upper Stevens Creek County Park, and Long Ridge, Skyline Ridge, and Monte Bello Open Space Preserves, and beyond. The Trail passes under the spreading branches of weathered oaks before dropping into a cool, wooded Douglas fir forest. Trail ends across from the Hickory Oaks trailhead to Long Ridge Open Space Preserve and Highway 35. (Source: MROSD)

Location: Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve, Santa Clara County - Saratoga Gap Trail

Directions: Parking for volunteers will be at the Caltrans vista point on the southeast corner of the Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) and Highway 9 intersection.

From the North: Saratoga Gap is approximately 13.7 mi. south of the Highway 84/Skyline Blvd. intersection and 6.5 mi. south of the Page Mill Rd./Skyline Blvd intersections.

From the South/East: use Saratoga Ave or Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd. to get onto Highway 9/Big Basin Way and proceed approximate 7.3 mi. to reach Skyline Blvd.

View destination on Google Maps

Agency: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Supervisor: Hank Magnuski

Project Lead: Hank Magnuski

Additional Information: Participants should bring water, sunscreen, sturdy shoes and normal precautions against poison oak exposure (work gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants). The Trail Center provides tools, training, gloves, and refreshments after the workday. Typically Chipotle provides a burrito for each participant at lunch time during this event.

Wunderlich Park, a hillside area of redwood forest, open meadows, and beautiful oaks and madrones, this area was once the ranch of the Folger family and was donated to the County by Martin Wunderlich. The park is largely open space, with a system of beautiful trails. Both, riding and hiking are available.

Location: Wunderlich County Park, Woodside, California - Bear Gulch Trail

Directions: 4040 Woodside Road, Woodside 94062 - (650)851-1210

- From the North
Turn off at the Woodside Road (Highway 84) exit. Turn westbound (towards Woodside). Proceed approximately 3 miles through the Town of Woodside. The main park entrance will be on the west (right) side of the roadway. The entrance sign is wooden and next to a yellow emergency phone box. Pay attention to your speed in Woodside or you'll be involuntarily contributing to the General Fund.

- From the South
Take the 280 Sand Hill exit west. Go on past the Whisky Hill intersection, up and over a small hill, and turn right onto Portola Road just after passing the gate to Jasper Ridge preserve. Bear left at the Y, staying on Portola. Portola will T into 84 (Woodside Road), turn right on 84. After half a mile or so watch for the Wunderlich entrance on the left. (Clearly signed; don't be fooled by an entrance to a private stable area.)

Agency: San Mateo County Parks - Carla Schoof, San Mateo Volunteer Coordinator

Supervisor: Hank Magnuski

Project Lead: Hank Magnuski

Additional Information: Participants should bring water, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, lunch and normal precautions against poison oak exposure (work gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants). The Trail Center provides tools, training, gloves, and refreshments after the workday.

Memorial Park with its 499 acres provides an opportunity to view outstanding old-growth redwoods and has picnic facilities, a visitor center, a camp store, a creek swimming area, and campfire programs. The park is known for its family camping areas and the Tan Oak and Mt. Ellen Nature Trails.

Timber surrounding this area was logged in the late 1800's and early 1900's, both for redwood lumber and the bark of the tan oak tree. In fact, four small sawmill sites are either on or adjacent to the present park boundaries. Fortunately, many of the areas in the park were saved from the logger's saws and were eventually acquired by the County in 1924. The park was memorialized for for the men of San Mateo County who died in the First World War.

The Depression brought many to the area when Memorial Park was established as a project camp for the Work Projects Administration created by President Roosevelt. Many of the existing restrooms, roadways and picnic sites are the result of their efforts.

Thousands of campers use the Creek Trail during the spring and summer seasons. They love to follow the river and enjoy it. The park can fit 2200 campers in their campgrounds during the summer, and most of those folks eventually find their way down to the creek. So, for the past 10 years, they've had to stumble through the rough terrain of the use trail that has developed since the trail disappeared. The trail was originally built in the 60's, so it lasted 30 years. The nearby Homestead Trail is used by local residents to walk to Loma Mar and elsewhere.

Location: Memorial Park, San Mateo County, California - Mt. Ellen Trails

Directions: When coming to Memorial Park from the bayside of the peninsula, use Highway 84 west from either Highway 280, 101 or 35 (Skyline Boulevard). Travel westbound down Highway 84 from Skyline Boulevard to Pescadero Road near the Town of La Honda. Turn left (south) on Pescadero Road. Follow Pescadero Road 5.6 miles to the park entrance.

As you travel through the town of Woodside, please note that the speed limit is 25 m.p.h. Otherwise, you might be involuntarily contributing to the Woodside General Fund.

When coming to Memorial Park from the coastside, use Highway 1 to Pescadero Road. Follow Pescadero Road 9.3 miles to the park entrance.

The parking/meeting area is going to be the parking lot immediately in front of the Memorial Park entrance kiosk on the south side of the road.

Additional Information: Participants should bring water, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, lunch and normal precautions against poison oak exposure (work gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants). The Trail Center provides tools, training, gloves, and refreshments after the workday.

Assemble at 8:30 for safety talks and crew assignments. We will start work on the trail at 9:00.

All park entry fees will be waived for volunteers.

Agency: San Mateo County Parks - David Vasquez, Supervising Ranger

Supervisor: Dave Croker

Project Lead: Bill Farrell

Project (click for directions): Tool Party and Annual Meeting

Tool Maintenance and Trailer Cleanup

Activities: Work will start around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. and continue until done. The Annual Meeting is planned to start at 4:00 pm. Pizza's on at 5:00 pm. Snacks are provided and there will be a special presentation at the end of the day.

Volunteer

Project: Bay Area Ridge Trail - Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve

Bay Area Ridge Trail - REI Service Day

NOTE: Unfortunately the Saratoga Gap event that Trail Center is running on November 5 is filled. Please do not just show up for our event, as we have already accounted for possible no-shows in the registration! But there are many other Ridge Trail events on November 5. The official link is http://www.ridgetrail.org/events/rei-ridge-trail-service-day but sometimes it isn't working, so you might want to use the Eventbrite site to sign up:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ridge-trail-day-2016-tickets-27736649064?aff=eac2#tickets. Thanks very much for your interest.

Activities: We will be improving sections of the Saratoga Gap Trail, including areas that need crushed rock added to fill in exposed roots and eroded tread, cleaning drainage culverts, removing old barbed wire fencing, restoring tread width by removing duff, and general clean-up. This is a popular multi-use trail, including mountain biking, so the improvements will be done with an eye towards accommodating all uses. The work will mostly be under tree cover.

Parking will be at the Caltrans vista point lot on the southeast corner of the Skyline Blvd. (Highway 35) and Highway 9 intersection. See the project link above for detailed directions. Volunteers should wait in the lot for announcements and their crew assignments. Crew leaders will then take volunteers to various staging points to get tools and instructions on their particular tasks. Volunteers should take their water, snacks, and daypack with them as they will not return to the parking lot until the end of the event. Volunteers should also exercise extreme care when crossing Highway 9 to access the Saratoga Gap Trailhead.

Rain Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016 (in place of the tool party)

 

Project: Portola Redwoods State Park (Upper Coyote Ridge Trail)

Upper Coyote Ridge Trail

Activities: We will continue work we began in August on the Upper Coyote Ridge Trail. We will start at Tarwater Trailhead on San Mateo County Parks property and work our way down. We will focus on tread restoration, brushing, and cutting back low-lying grass, vines and poison oak.

This is absolutely the perfect place to get away from scorching heat on the Peninsula. Come join us to fix this trail.

Time/Place: Assemble at 8:30 a.m. for our safety talk and crew assignments. Work begins at 9:00 a.m. See project link above for directions.

Volunteer

Project: San Mateo Memorial Park - Mt. Ellen Trails

Mt. Ellen Trails

Activities: Ranger David Vasquez has requested help in restoring and fixing the Mt. Ellen Trails. This work will involve brushing, tread maintenance and reopening a section closed by fallen trees.

This will be a great place to be in early September. Please join us for a day in this park.

Volunteer