Discover County Parks E-Newsletter: Take a Winter Expedition; Ranger Recommendations


Dear Park Supporter,

I am excited to present the debut edition of Discover County Parks, San Mateo County Park’s quarterly e-newsletter. As a park user, you may have already camped among the Redwoods, picnicked next to the bay, or hiked to the summit of San Bruno Mountain. We want to help you discover more about San Mateo County Parks.

With more than 16,000 acres of land, 17 parks, regional, county and local trails, and two historic sites, there is a lot to explore. In each issue of Discover County Parks we will feature parks and activities that encourage you to experience the diverse natural settings found in San Mateo County Parks. In this first issue learn how even in the winter months, County Parks are worth a visit.

James C. Porter
Director of Public Works and Parks


Helpful Tips For Your Winter Expedition

The dampness and cold of winter are upon us.Yet, you shouldn’t let the change in weather keep you from taking a hike. Waterfall_SSylvanTrailCounty parks are open each day of the year and are ready for you to enjoy. Any outdoor venture requires some planning and consideration of the weather and trail conditions. Park rangers offer the following tips for fun and safe visits:

  • In this season, apparel should consist of long-sleeves, layers and appropriate sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Come prepared for weather changes and bring a change of dry jackets, socks and shoes.
  • Wet trails can be slippery, especially when covered by leaves. Take precaution and reduce walking and jogging speeds.
  • Be aware that the park closing  time changes seasonally. Check the posted time near the park entrance before you begin your hike.
  • Please use designated trails at all times.
  • Be aware that poison oak is present all year. In winter, the plant shows bare, orange, near-right angle stems and a branching pattern rather than the recognizable green leaves.
  • Heavy rains can cause muddy conditions and a rise in creek levels. Remaining on trails prevents sediment from entering creeks and reduces hazardous effects on fish and other water organisms.
  • Carrying drinking water is always recommended.
  • Always leave natural features where they grow, live and lie.

Ranger Recommended Hikes
There is no doubt that Sam McDonald and Pescadero Parks, located in Loma Mar near the coast, are wonderful summer destinations.sammcdonald8  But these parks present special winter features, including small waterfalls on Fall Creek (Portola Trail) and Towne Creek (Pomponio/Brook Loop Trails).

Most of the falls are produced by water that collects in dry gullies that then drop approximately 100 feet into streams. These spectacular sites can be tempting to experience up close. However, stay on designated trails as creek levels can rise quickly during and immediately after rain storms. At the Pescadero Creek, many foot bridges are closed during the rainy season, so be aware of signs indicating closed creek crossings…continue reading


Share Your Time, Take in the BeautyNestle_SCA_Volunteers5_2_

San Mateo County Park volunteers dig in the dirt, hike trails, learn, teach, and welcome park visitors to some of the most scenic locations in Northern California.

Consider sharing your time with San Mateo County Parks and become a volunteer.

For more information, click volunteer!


Upcoming Events

Rainy Revival: Ferns, Bryophytes and Early Blooms
Saturday January 19, 2013 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.Birds

Goldback, Maidenhair, and Polypody ferns unfurl with winter rains. Enjoy the beauty of mosses, liverworts, and early blooms. Botanist and docent Mary Wilson leads this walk to discover Edgewood’s rain-loving organisms.

For more events, click here.


Print Brochures and Maps Before You Visit

Anytime you are hiking in an unfamiliar area, it is a good idea to bring information and maps.  Plan your visit to San Mateo County Parks by visiting where you can download and print park brochures and maps.


Annual Passes Make SenseSan_Pedro_Valley_Hazelnut_014

Purchase a San Mateo County Park Annual Pass for $60 and enjoy unlimited entrance to all 17 parks.  With an Annual Pass you can explore and enjoy all San Mateo County Parks as often as you like for one low fee.  Your Pass will cover the entrance fee at all County Parks, all year long. Call (650) 363-4020, Monday through Thursday, to purchase a pass.


Enjoy Your Parks

Visit for more information about San Mateo County Parks.
Reservations:  650-363-4021
General Information: 650-363-4020

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