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Thornewood Thornewood

All Midpen Preserves are open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year from dawn until one-half hour after sunset.

Conveniently located in the hills above the Town of Woodside and ideally situated for a quick morning or afternoon getaway, Thornewood is a 167-acre preserve offering nice, easy hikes or horseback rides through beautiful surroundings. The preserve's ¾-mile Schilling Lake Trail gradually winds through sunlit canopies of big-leaf maples and moss-covered oaks and ends under the shade of the giant redwoods that surround the lake. Schilling Lake is an excellent site to view waterfowl during their migration, so please be sure your dog is on leash and at your side when visiting this sensitive wildlife habitat area.

Excavation Equipment During Trail Construction
The Bridle Trail
(Photo by Meredith Manning, MROSD)

The ¾-mile Bridle Trail, completed in 2010, winds through second growth Douglas fir and redwood forest and emerges in oak and madrone forest to connect with the Schilling Lake Trail. Funded in part by State Proposition 50 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), this new trail creates safe equestrian, hiking, and dogs-on-leash passage through Dennis Martin Creek while reducing sedimentation to the aquatic environment. Because much of the path passes beneath dense forest canopy, the trail remains wet for long periods of time and may close seasonally due to concerns for public safety and environmental protection.


Elsewhere on the Preserve, the Thornewood House, surrounded by 3.5 acres of landscaping and a breathtaking view of the valley, is an example of estate life of the 1920s. This 87-acre estate was willed to the Sierra Club Foundation and later given to the District. Currently, the house and 10-acre private leasehold are being restored and are closed to the public. However, the remaining 77 acres of the estate, including an easy walk along wooded trails leading to Schilling Lake, are open to the public throughout the year.


Access to the preserve is through a brick gate on the south side of La Honda Road (Highway 84), 1.6 miles past its intersection with Portola Road in Woodside. A narrow driveway winds through the woods for 0.3 miles before reaching the parking lot located on the west side of the driveway. Parking for approximately 12 cars is available here.

Download a map of Thornewood Open Space Preserve


Latest News

Midpen invites photographers to enter its 6th Annual Digital Photography Competition, running December 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015.

(12/1/14 )

Activities at the Preserve

Explorer Hike: Floral Harbingers of Spring

Ideas for...

Dog Owners



Trail Conditions

The access from Old La Honda Road at Dennis Martin Creek is OPEN to hikers and equestrians.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that seasonal trail closures may change from day to day without notice, based on changing weather conditions. Also note that during winter storm season high waters can make creek crossings hazardous, so plan your outing accordingly.

Last updated on: 11/29/2014

Additional Information

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