Pearson-Arastradero Preserve is a beautiful mixture of rolling savanna grassland and broadleaf evergreen forest. It varies in elevation from 275 feet in the northeast to 775 feet in the southwest. Wildlife abounds on the preserve and it is not uncommon to see deer, bobcats, coyotes, and many varieties of birds. Each area of the preserve has something different to offer, whether it is a view of the bay, a quiet walk through the grasslands, or a snooze by the lake.
Preserve Closed for Prescribed Burn on May 30, 2013
On Thursday, May 30, the Palo Alto Fire Department is conducting a prescribed burn in Enid W. Pearson Arastradero Preserve. The burn will be about 18 acres of grassland on the 622-acre preserve. It is being conducted to help mitigate any potential fires and for resource management.
The Fire Department is being assisted by several City of Palo Alto departments, Woodside Fire, CalFire and other Santa Clara County fire departments
The burn is dependent on the weather conditions on that day. In addition, the resources that are secured for the fire need to be available and not otherwise occupied by emergency response. If everything proceeds as anticipated, the burn will begin at approximately 9:00 am. We anticipate a smoke column to blow over Highway 280 during the burn, but evacuation is not necessary. Please see the FAQs sheet for further information and safety details.
The preserve will be closed to the public from closing on May 29 until early afternoon on May 30, or when it is deemed safe to enter.
These are a few of the rules that enable everyone to have an enjoyable experience in this nature preserve:
- Park in designated parking spaces at the parking lot.
- Dogs are required to be on leash and under physical control at all times.
- Fires, barbecues and smoking are prohibited anywhere in the preserve.
- Stay on marked trails. You may not go off trail.
- No hunting or camping.
- Helmets are required for all bicyclists.
- No collecting of plants or animals.
See our Rules and Regulations page for complete ordinances, regulations and more information.
Things to Do
Hiking, Biking and Equestrian Trails: The Pearson-Arastradero Preserve has 10.25 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Most of the trails (6.6 miles) are open year-round. Some trails (3.6 miles) are designated as "seasonal" and are closed at the trailheads after heavy rain. When the ground is firm enough to ride and hike on without causing damage, the trails are re-opened by preserve rangers. See the Seasonal Trail Status page for current information.
Please be courteous to other trail users. Always yield to equestrians. Bikes must also yield to hikers. When in a group, avoid blocking the trail. Help preserve the land by staying on trails.
Lake and Fishing: Arastradero Lake is a twenty minute hike from the parking lot and is open all year to fishing. All California Fish and Game rules apply. Boats, flotation devices, and swimming are not permitted.
In the 1970s, Palo Alto purchased the Arastradero property (533 acres and three buildings) from Arastra Ltd. for $7,475,000 after the city amended its Comprehensive Plan to include most of the foothills in the Open Space Controlled Development. In addition, restrictions were imposed that would limit development to an average of ten acres per dwelling. In 1981 the space was dedicated as park land, with “...emphasis on the natural and open space amenities of the land and sensitivity to the fragile foothills ecology.”
Arastradero Preserve was renamed Enid Pearson-Arastradero Preserve in 2004 to honor former city council member Enid Pearson who was instrumental in the passage of a measure in 1965 that prohibits Palo Alto from selling any park land without voters’ approval.
1530 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
650-329-2423 (Foothills Park)
Open daily from 8:00 am until sunset. Click here for Park Hours.
Pearson-Arastradero Trail Map
Palo Alto Open Space Trail Map
Mountain Lion Habitat Warning
Seasonal Trail Status