Serra County Park,
San Mateo County Parks,
San Mateo County
2.1 mile loop at a small park a short distance off Interstate 280.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 2.1 mile loop hike is easy. The park is small, with limited elevation changes.
Mix of shade and sun.
Nice any time.
From southbound Interstate 280 in San Mateo County, exit Crystal Springs Road. Stay in the right lane and at the light, turn right onto Crystal Springs Road. Drive about 0.5 mile, to the park entrance on the left side of the road.
From northbound Interstate 280 in San Mateo County, exit San Bruno Avenue. Go under the freeway and turn left back on 280 southbound. Exit Crystal Springs Road, stay in the right lane and at the light, turn right onto Crystal Springs Road. Drive about 0.5 mile, to the park entrance on the left side of the road.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, pay phones, restaurants, and stores available in nearby San Bruno and Millbrae; just about any highway exit near the park has facilities and businesses. No camping.
Once past the entrance kiosk, bear left and park in the lot near the De Anza Trailhead. More parking in various lots throughout the park. $6 entrance fee; self-register if kiosk is unattended. Designated handicapped parking spots in each parking lot. Some trails and picnic areas may be wheelchair accessible for short distances with assistance. Maps available at the De Anza Trailhead information signboard. Restrooms near parking lot. Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in winter, and until 8 p.m. April through Labor Day weekend. There is no direct public transportation to the park. A few SamTrans buses service nearby neighborhoods.
Trails are open to hikers and equestrians. No bikes on trails, although they are permitted on the paved park roads. Dogs are not allowed.
The Official Story:
SMCP's Junipero Serra page
Park office 650-589-5708
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region Map to get there.
Map from SMCP
Afoot and Afield: San Francisco Bay Area, by David Weintraub (order this book from Amazon.com) has a great map and descriptions of a Junipero Serra hike.
Trails of the Coastside and Northern Peninsula (map) is a good guide (available from Pease Press).
Peninsula Trails, by Jean Rusmore, has a simple map and trail descriptions (order this book from Amazon.com).
View photos of this hike.
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
Serra is a small park, squeezed on all sides
by a freeway and residential communities. The trails are nicely maintained
and well-marked, and travel through the park's plant communities, but
nothing can mitigate the noise pollution you'll encounter as you hike.
Traffic noise from Interstate 280 is a constant accompaniment on Junipero
Serra's west side, and on the east you'll hear and see traffic on 101.
Airplane traffic from SFO in the skies above the park is also heavy. If
you can get beyond the noise, Junipero Serra is a nice place for a picnic
and/or short walk. There are barbecue pits, picnic tables, and restrooms.
The park's reservable group picnic areas boast volleyball nets and large
shelter buildings. If you visit just to hike, you could easily cover all
the park's trails in a few hours. Live
Oak Nature Trail, a self-guided loop, is perhaps the park's nicest path,
and is recommended for hikers seeking to learn about bay area plants.
One work of caution: Junipero Serra is one of those parks where people
sit in their cars in the parking lot on weekdays. I've never had a problem,
but it can be kind of unsettling if you're alone. You may want to hike
on weekends or with a friend.