The Earthquake Trail at Los Trancos OSP

Preserve Info

Hiking
Equestrian

Overview

Los Trancos Open Space Preserve is a 274-acre area located in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Palo Alto. This is an ideal spot to learn about earthquake geology. The San Andreas Fault, one of the world's longest and most active faults, splits the preserve. 

The Preserve is situated at about 2,000 feet and always has fresh air scented with pungent bay leaves, sweet grass, and damp woods. Here, visitors will find a pleasant environment of rolling grassland knolls alternating with oak woodland and cool shaded forest. On a clear day, one can spot the gleaming skyscrapers of San Francisco and pick out Mt. Diablo across the bay. 

Gallery

Features

  • The San Andreas Fault Trail - An ideal spot to learn about earthquake geology. Visitors can hike the easy 1.5-mile self-guided interpretive Trail which gives visitors a chance to learn more about the lead player on California's geology. Download Trail Map

How to Get Here

The preserve's entrance is on Page Mill Road, 7 miles west of Highway 280 and 1.5 miles east of Skyline Boulevard. Parking is available for 20 vehicles. Additional parking and restroom facilities are available at the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve parking area, located directly across Page Mill Road.

Get driving directions:

 

Trails

San Andres Fault Trail - Visitors can hike the easy 1.5-mile Trail and learn how the mighty San Andreas Fault has shaped our landscape. The brochure-guided hike is both informational and fun for all ages.

 

Trail Conditions

This information is updated as needed when trails are opened or closed, or when there is scheduled trail maintenance. Visit the full Trail Conditions page for more information.

  • The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is scheduled to begin removing two groves of non-native eucalyptus trees along Page Mill Road, beginning December 4 and continuing into January. The work will take place north of gate LT01 at Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. Both Page Mill Road and Page Mill Trail may be closed for short periods during this work. Download map of work area.
Date updated: Friday, November 15, 2019 - 11:00am

History

Once part of a 13,300-acre ranch in the nineteenth century, the land that was to become Los Trancos Preserve was purchased in the early 1900s by Louis Oneal, a San Jose attorney and state senator who raised horses and owned the nearby O&O Breeding Stables. The property changed hands in the 1950s, and in the 1960s Palo Alto ran water and power lines to it, in anticipation of residential development. The Livingston-Blarney report detailing the high cost of providing city services to the foothills stopped a proposed subdivision. The District acquired most of the property in 1976. 

The 1.5-mile San Andreas Fault Trail was established in 1977 with volunteer assistance from former Foothill College geology professor Tim Hall and his students.

Regulations

  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are NOT allowed in this Preserve. For information on preserves open to bikes visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Permits: A use permit is required for any activity or event which: may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR is advertised or noticed in any publication, poster, electronic posting or flyer; OR requests/requires a fee be paid for participation. Visit the Permit page for more information.
     
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Weapons: All weapons are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. If you encounter wildlife during a visit, do not approach, startle or feed it. Although wild animals are generally fearful of humans and will run away, some wildlife can be dangerous. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Overview

Los Trancos Open Space Preserve is a 274-acre area located in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Palo Alto. This is an ideal spot to learn about earthquake geology. The San Andreas Fault, one of the world's longest and most active faults, splits the preserve. 

The Preserve is situated at about 2,000 feet and always has fresh air scented with pungent bay leaves, sweet grass, and damp woods. Here, visitors will find a pleasant environment of rolling grassland knolls alternating with oak woodland and cool shaded forest. On a clear day, one can spot the gleaming skyscrapers of San Francisco and pick out Mt. Diablo across the bay. 

Features

  • The San Andreas Fault Trail - An ideal spot to learn about earthquake geology. Visitors can hike the easy 1.5-mile self-guided interpretive Trail which gives visitors a chance to learn more about the lead player on California's geology. Download Trail Map

The preserve's entrance is on Page Mill Road, 7 miles west of Highway 280 and 1.5 miles east of Skyline Boulevard. Parking is available for 20 vehicles. Additional parking and restroom facilities are available at the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve parking area, located directly across Page Mill Road.

Get driving directions:

 

Trails

San Andres Fault Trail - Visitors can hike the easy 1.5-mile Trail and learn how the mighty San Andreas Fault has shaped our landscape. The brochure-guided hike is both informational and fun for all ages.

 

Trail Conditions

This information is updated as needed when trails are opened or closed, or when there is scheduled trail maintenance. Visit the full Trail Conditions page for more information.

  • The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is scheduled to begin removing two groves of non-native eucalyptus trees along Page Mill Road, beginning December 4 and continuing into January. The work will take place north of gate LT01 at Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. Both Page Mill Road and Page Mill Trail may be closed for short periods during this work. Download map of work area.
Date updated: Friday, November 15, 2019 - 11:00am

Once part of a 13,300-acre ranch in the nineteenth century, the land that was to become Los Trancos Preserve was purchased in the early 1900s by Louis Oneal, a San Jose attorney and state senator who raised horses and owned the nearby O&O Breeding Stables. The property changed hands in the 1950s, and in the 1960s Palo Alto ran water and power lines to it, in anticipation of residential development. The Livingston-Blarney report detailing the high cost of providing city services to the foothills stopped a proposed subdivision. The District acquired most of the property in 1976. 

The 1.5-mile San Andreas Fault Trail was established in 1977 with volunteer assistance from former Foothill College geology professor Tim Hall and his students.

  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are NOT allowed in this Preserve. For information on preserves open to bikes visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Permits: A use permit is required for any activity or event which: may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR is advertised or noticed in any publication, poster, electronic posting or flyer; OR requests/requires a fee be paid for participation. Visit the Permit page for more information.
     
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Weapons: All weapons are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. If you encounter wildlife during a visit, do not approach, startle or feed it. Although wild animals are generally fearful of humans and will run away, some wildlife can be dangerous. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Download Preserve Map

Preserve Info

Hiking
Equestrian

Hours

Preserves are open from one-half hour before official sunrise until one-half hour after official sunset.

Preserve Activities