HIkers by Karl Gohl

Know Before You Go

Karl Gohl

Know before you go! Trails in Midpen preserves can be remote, providing a wildland experience in nature very different from a city park. Prepare to maximize a safe and enjoyable visit to open space preserves in all seasons by following these tips. Plan ahead before you leave:

  1. Always check trail conditions and preserve pages before leaving home to say up-to-date on regulations and potential temporary closures.
  2. Check the weather: Consider other plans during events such as storms or extreme heat.
  3. Bring a map: They can be printed or downloaded from the preserve webpages. Cell phones don’t always have service in some areas of Midpen preserves.
  4. Pack essentials: Water, weather-appropriate clothing, basic first aid supplies and food. Midpen preserves are wildland areas with minimal development. Consider sun protection, sturdy footwear, and long pants particularly in grassland areas where there may be ticks. 
  5. Bring a friend and tell someone your plan: Bring someone with you, and make sure someone knows where you are heading and when you expect to return.
  6. Check parking capacity and make a backup plan: Some of the more popular preserve parking areas can fill early, especially on the weekends. Google Maps show how busy places are: search for a preserve and scroll down to the popular time graph. For some of our more popular preserves, this crowd data is provided in real-time. Plan accordingly and have a Plan B — one or two alternate locations ready in case your destination is full.
  7. Reserve a permit (if needed): A few Midpen trailheads require permits for parking which can be reserved at openspace.org/permits
  8. Recreate responsibly: Play it safe by choosing low-impact activities, going slow and staying within your limits. It can take time for emergency responders to reach you out on the trails. Always remain aware of your surroundings. 
  9. Leave no trace: Midpen adheres to a Leave No Trace ethic in its preserves, which have no trash cans, so be prepared to leave nature as you found it by taking back everything that you bring in. Leave what you find, and respect plants and wildlife. Midpen trails are for everyone. Treat people of all identities and abilities with kindness and respect.


Sign up for our newsletter to find out what’s happening in your open space!