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Quail Trail Loop

Junipero Serra County Park

March 11th, 2007

1.5 miles
230 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:42

Rating: 5/10

Directions: From San Francisco, take Interstate 280 South. Exit Crystal Springs Road, and turn right onto Crystal Springs Road. Turn left into the park entrance, then right and park into one of the parking spots on the left side of the bend in the road, near the playground. Alternatively, if the gate is open, you can park on the right side of the bend. Note that there is no Crystal Springs Road exit from 280 North, so if you are coming from the south, your best bet is to take 280 North to the Sneath Lane exit, turn left and get back on to 280 South, and follow the directions above (Crystal Springs Road would be the first exit after you get back onto the freeway).   View Driving Map

It was an unseasonably warm day at the tail end of a very dry winter in the Bay Area, a perfect day for a short hike. Now that Nathan was too big to be carried regularly, we chose a short hike in nearby Junipero Serra County Park.

For those with kids, there's a playground near the trailhead. We decided we'd visit it afterwards, and started off on the Quail Trail Loop, heading toward the Willow Shelter parking lot. The trail immediately starts a gentle ascent in and out of forest. There were a few early wildflowers visible as we walked amongst eucalyptus and pine trees. Poison oak was also clearly visible.

After a short ascent, we made it to the top, where there are lots of picnic tables spaced out across the area. You can drive up to the top, so this isn't much of a wilderness hike. We sat down for lunch on the grass next to a volleyball court, with great views of SFO, the bay, and Mt. Diablo on the other side. Amazingly, despite the great weather, we had the whole place mostly to ourselves. I imagine that in the summer this place probably gets quite crowded with picnickers.

View of SFO, the bay, and Mt. Diablo

After lunch, we rejoined the trail and started the descent. The trail is pleasant enough, but at one point we were walking directly toward Interstate 280 in plain view. So, again, if it's wilderness you want, this is not the place. If you want a nice short hike with great views and a playground for the kids, this is a fine choice.

The Quail Trail

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