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Counting bridges on Los Trancos Trail

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Location : Foothills Park, Palo Alto, CA.

Parking : $6

Trail type : Loop

Trail Length : 7 miles

Elevation Gain : 1459 ft

Difficulty : Moderate

Trails traversed : Los Trancos Trail > Fern Loop Trail

Foothill Park, in Palo Alto, opened up to the public in mid December of 2020. Prior to that, only Palo Alto residents had exclusive access to it. Los Trancos trail is the longest one in the park and has something for everyone - beautiful views, long climbs and a flowing brook. The trail is shaded most of the way and is green almost any time of the year. Plan ahead and pack a picnic lunch which you can enjoy by the lake in the park, post-hike.

Closest parking to the trailhead is at the Foothill Park Nature Interpretive Center inside the park. From the entrance gate, drive about 1.5 miles, past the small lake, until you see a large meadow on the left and the Interpretive Center on the right.

The trail starts right in front of the Interpretive Center, across the meadow. You encounter a number of bridges on this trail, the first of which is at the start of the trailhead. Add some fun to your hike by counting the number of bridges you cross along the route.

One of the many bridges on the trail.

The first half a mile of the trail is a real butt-kicker as the path climbs uphill with numerous switchbacks. When you reach the top of the hill, the ascent becomes more gradual with gorgeous views of Palo Alto and the Open Reserve surrounding this park.

View of Palo Alto and beyond

Some of these trees looked really eerie.

The trail soon starts climbing uphill once again, and gets your heart pumping before joining Fern Loop Trail and flattening out.

Green fern and moss covered many tree trunks

Fren Loop Trail will intersect a fire road which will take you back to your car at the Interpretive Center. This is an excellent hike for a hot summer's day.

Giant sized mushrooms along the trail


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