Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve is a 366-acre site near the City of San Carlos with trails for hiking and walking one's dog, including an off-leash area. The preserve's six miles of trails offers access to cool canyons and a ridge top with views toward the bay and surrounding hillsides.
Located at the front of the preserve, this trail offers a less strenuous open space experience and is designed to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. The trail extends 0.8 miles at a very slight grade through a meadow to a bench located in a quiet, wooded area by Cordilleras Creek. The first part of this trail parallels a paved road. When the trail and road split, the road continues to the top of the preserve with a steep grade that exceeds 10 percent and may be too steep for wheelchair use.
Named in memoriam of a former Midpen Board member, this trail extends from the Blue Oak Trail through the preserve’s south canyon, and connects with the Polly Geraci Trail.
For a more strenuous hike, this two-mile trail spans the entire northern portion of the preserve. It can be accessed from the Cordilleras Trail in the bottom of the preserve, or the Hassler Trail at the very top of the preserve. In the spring, this trail features beautiful wildflowers.
This one-mile trail ascends an oak-covered hillside through the middle of the Preserve. Vegetation changes to chaparral, providing a great place to enjoy a pleasant view of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The trail meets with the Hassler and Dick Bishop trails and circles around meeting up with the Dusky-footed Woodrat and Cordilleras trails, creating an easy two-mile loop.
Preserve Highlights & Features
Off-leash dog area
Visitors can let their dogs off-leash in the 17.5-acre area located in the center of the preserve, accessible from the Cordilleras Trail, Polly Geraci/Hassler Trails and the Blue Oak Trail. While in this area, visitors must have a leash in their possession and their dog must be under voice control.
Note: Area is fenced and signed at entrances, but there is no fencing around the off-leash area. Dogs must be on a leash when outside of the off-leash area.
Wandering the trails in early spring, visitors will see many wildflowers, such as Indian warrior, hound's tongue, mule's ears, and milkmaids, in addition to three members of the lily family: fetid adder's tongue, giant trillium, and mission bells. Pulgas Ridge is home to about 90 native species of trees, shrubs, ferns, and flowers.
Stories from the Preserves
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.
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.
Main entrance: (25 spaces) From Highway 280, exit Edgewood Road. Travel 0.75 miles northeast on Edgewood Road toward Redwood City. Turn left (north) on Crestview Drive, then immediately turn left on Edmonds Road. Follow Edmonds Road to the preserve entrance on the right.
The County of San Mateo has restricted all on-street parking along Edmond Road during the construction of the Cordilleras Mental Health Center.
- Dogs: Visitors can let their dogs off-leash in the 17.5-acre area located in the center of the preserve, accessible from the Cordilleras Trail, Polly Geraci/Hassler Trails and the Blue Oak Trail. While in this area, visitors must have a leash in their possession and their dog must be under voice control. On all other trails, dogs must be controlled on a 6-foot or less leash. Self-retracting leashes are allowed with a maximum extended length of 25 feet. Visitors may have no more than three dogs per person. Bag dog waste and take it with you. Midpen accommodates service dogs in preserves wherever we allow public access. For more information visit the Dog Access page.
- Bicyclists: Bikes are NOT allowed in this Preserve. For information on preserves open to bikes visit the Bicycle Access page.
- Equestrians: Horses are NOT allowed in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For information on preserves open to horses visit the Equestrian Access page.
- Fires are prohibited in preserves.
- Plants & Wildlife: Please leave 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.
- Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
- Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.
- Weapons are prohibited in preserves.
- Drones and Model Aircraft: Drones, model airplanes and model rockets are NOT allowed.
A general access permit is required for any activity or event that:
- may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR
- would restrict the use of any part of Midpen lands by members of the public; OR
- requests or requires a fee be paid or a donation made for participation. This includes events where the fee is in the form of a mandatory purchase, such as a t-shirt.
Midpen trails and facilities are generally very safe. However, you are entering an environment where there are some naturally occurring hazards. Reasonable caution and common sense should be utilized when venturing into any outdoor environment.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle! Lock your vehicle and store valuables out of sight or take them with you on the trail.
- Travel in groups of two or more. Two of more people can assist each other in the event of an accident or emergency.
- Dress for the environment. Temperature changes can be occur and you should dress in layers appropriate for the location, time of year and planned activities.
- Carry water with you. Drinking water is not available at most Midpen preserves so you should bring your own. Two quarts per person per two hour hike is recommended.
- Apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water prior to and during your outdoor activities.
- Be aware that cell service is very sporadic on the preserves.
Be Prepared and Aware
Plan ahead before you leave. Check regulations and weather, download a map, pack water and first aid.
Know your limits and take safety precautions.
Rattlesnakes are native to this area and are especially active in warm weather.
Poison oak grows on most preserves: Learn to identify and avoid it in all seasons.
Ticks are present in this area and may carry diseases.
Mountain lions are a natural part of this region’s environment and are occasionally seen.
In Case of Emergency
If you experience an emergency (fire, accident or other immediate threat to life or property), call 911. For nonemergencies, call 650-691-1200.
Formerly the site of the Hassler Health Home, a tuberculosis sanitarium owned by the City of San Francisco, the area was purchased by Midpen in 1983. Neighbors of the preserve contributed to the land's protection when they approved a special assessment to help fund the purchase. The sanitarium was demolished in 1985 to return the land to open space. Observant visitors may see remnants of the buildings, including rock retaining walls and steps.
Brochures and Resources
Some additional resources to help you enjoy the preserves!