La Honda Creek Preserve by Frances Freyberg

La Honda Creek Preserve

La Honda Creek Preserve by Frances Freyberg

Overview

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Hours
Open a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset. The Lower La Honda Creek area will be closed when the National Weather Service declares Red Flag Warning weather.

One of Midpen's largest and most diverse preserves, La Honda Creek offers immersion into a historic ranchland with grazing cattle, views of the San Mateo County Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains and pockets of redwood forest. Since first opening to the public in 2017, it has become a regional destination for birding.  

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Hiking: All Trails
Hiking: All Trails
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Bicycling: Not Permitted
Bicycling: Not Permitted
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Equestrian: All Trails
Equestrian: All Trails
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Dogs on Leash: Designated Trails
Dogs on Leash: Designated Trails
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No Easy Access
No Easy Access
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Camping: No Camping
Camping: No Camping
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Restrooms: Available
Restrooms: Available

Preserve Highlights & Features

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Coastal grasslands are rich with native plants and wildlife.
Coastal grasslands are rich with native plants and wildlife. Photo by Lewis Reed/Midpen

Coastal Grasslands

Rich in native plants and wildlife, California's coastal grasslands evolved with herds of grazing wildlife that are no longer on the landscape, natural fires and Native American burning practices. This habitat can benefit from periodic disturbance to prevent encroachment by introduced species, shrubs and forest. 

Midpen's work to protect and enhance coastal grasslands supports the management and recovery of endangered, threatened and special-status species that need grassland habitat, like the San Francisco garter snake, American badger, California red-legged frog and burrowing owl. 

Stories from the Preserves

The Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods and the people who visit them are deeply intertwined with the fate…

Nature

Here are some of the plants and animals that other visitors have observed at this preserve and recorded in iNaturalist. Protected species may be excluded and some species may not yet have been observed. Help improve iNaturalist by adding your observations to the Midpen Biodiversity Index project

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Know Before You Go

Preserve regulations help provide a safe, enjoyable visit while protecting sensitive areas and wildlife. 

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YIELD. Bicycles yield to hikers and equestrians. HIkers yield to equestrians.

Share the Trail 

  • Use designated trails to avoid damage to natural resources and prevent injury. 

  • Avoid blocking the trail. Step aside to allow others to pass .  

  • Whether you’re walking or biking, always yield to equestrians. 

  • Leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in. Most preserves do not have trash cans. Littering is prohibited. 

  • Abuses of trail etiquette should be brought to the attention of a ranger or call the Midpen main office at 650-691-1200. 

Activities & Events

There are currently no events scheduled.

History

La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve was established in 1984 with the purchase of a 255-acre property. Following many additional land acquisitions, the preserve now encompasses over 6,100 acres. Over 4,500 acres of these lands, including the former Driscoll Ranch, were purchased by the Peninsula Open Space Trust and transferred to Midpen to add to the preserve.

In order to manage the preserve’s rich ecological and cultural resources, and to provide opportunities for public enjoyment and education, Midpen completed a comprehensive 30-year master plan in 2012.  Through this public planning process, a preserve vision was created: to harmoniously blend recreation and ranching uses for the benefit of the land, wildlife and surrounding commuting, both present and future.  As part of implementation of the master plan, Midpen has completed many land stewardship projects. Five ponds were deepened and reinforced to allow threatened California red-legged frogs to breed, and encourage the endangered San Francisco garter snake to return to the preserve. Miles of ranch roads were repaired to reduce sediment flowing to Harrington, La Honda and San Gregorio creeks, which provide habitat for endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout. Fences and springs were upgraded to support cattle grazing. Existing trails and staging areas were improved in Upper La Honda Creek, and a parking lot was constructed on the lower preserve. More trails and a staging area near the historic Red Barn are planned, which will link the upper and lower preserve areas and provide additional recreation opportunities, including mountain bicycle use, in the near future.