Chickadee and Redwood Nature trails, Huddart County Park,
San Mateo County Parks and Recreation,
San Mateo County
In brief:
2.4 mile balloon hike on gently-graded trails.

Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 2.4 mile balloon hike is very easy. Trailhead elevation is about 760 feet. The park's highest point is about 2000 feet, but this hike is nearly flat, with minimal elevation change.

Mostly shaded.

Trail traffic:

Trail surfaces:
Dirt trails.

Hiking time:
About an hour.

Nice any time.

Getting there:
From Interstate 280 in San Mateo County, exit Woodside Road (CA 84). Drive west about 1.5 miles, then turn right onto Kings Mountain Road. Drive about 2 miles on this narrow road (watch for cyclists, motorcyclists, and deer), then turn right into the park. Once past the entry kiosk, look for the Chickadee Trailhead on the right side of the road (park in the large lot to the left unless you have a handicapped placard).

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:

GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Latitude 3726'24.00"N
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, lodging:
Gas, restaurants, and picnic supplies at Woodside, about 3 miles away. The only overnight option in the park is youth group camping.

Trailhead details:
Two designated handicapped parking spots; more general parking across the street. $6 entrance fee (self registration if kiosk unattended). Maps available at the entry kiosk. Phone next to trailhead. No accessible restrooms near the trailhead, but there are are restrooms near the picnic areas. There is no direct public transportation to the park.

Most trails are open to equestrians and hikers only. A few are designated hiking only. No bikes on trails. No dogs permitted.

The Official Story:
CSMP's Huddart page.
Park office 650-851-1210

Map Choices:
• Use AAA's Palo Alto/Redwood City map to get to the park.
CSMP's Huddart map
• The Trail Center's Trail Map of the Central Peninsula is a good guide to this hike (order this map from
• Tom Taber's The Santa Cruz Mountain Trail Book has a simple map (order this book from
Peninsula Trails, by Rusmore, Spangle, and Crowder, has a simple map and trail descriptions (order this book from

View 28 photos from the featured hike.
(old loop shown)

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Huddart's Chickadee and Redwood Nature trails make a wonderful 2.4 mile balloon hike. Chickadee TrailParents hiking with children may find Chickadee a great venue for nature study -- posts along the way identify plants and the park has a brochure with which to follow along. There are a few benches along the path where you can rest and soak in the sunshine or shade. Chickadee used to be a loop, but a bridge washed out and trail is closed at that spot.
     After departing from the parking area, Chickadee passes through a young stand of redwood, then steps out into sunshine. Immediately hikers can enjoy the warm spicy aromas of chaparral plants. You may see madrone, chamise, manzanita, chaparral pea, toyon, coyote brush, ceanothus, and California coffeeberry. Poison oak, common here, is easy to pick out in the late summer, when its leaves turn red. Chickadee winds levelly south, offering partial views east through breaks in the vegetation. At 0.5 mile, the old trail continued to the right but is now fenced off -- a new path departs at a moderate grade, to the left.Redwood Nature Trail
     The connector path descends through mixed woods and then ends at 0.6 mile, near the Redwood Picnic Area. Turn right and pick up a laminated guide to the Redwood Nature Trail from the wood box. After a few steps, the trail splits -- stay to the right, since the tour is oriented counterclockwise. Labeled posts show off some of the most common local plants, including poison oak, California bay, Madrone, and California coffeeberry. On a late summer hike, I saw juncos flitting about and lifted my face to sunlight filtering through golden maple leaves. After ascending slightly, Redwood Nature Trail reaches a deeply shaded redwood grove, where a creek flows in winter. Continue on the trail to a junction with a path headed right to the Redwood Picnic Area. Bear left and after an interlude without plant markers, close the loop at 1.2 miles. Bear left and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Total distance: about 2.4 miles
Last hiked: September 9, 2014
Previous visit: September 5, 2000