Monday, May 23, 2011

Stanford University trail opens May 20, 2011

A new trail along Page Mill Road and crossing south through the foothills will open to the public in the coming weeks. It was built by Stanford University as a condition of its general-use permit with Santa Clara County. Photo by Veronica Weber/Palo Alto Online.

A long-awaited public hiking trail that has been a decade in the making will open Friday, May 20.

The new trail, called the Matadero Trail, is the "S1" route in the Santa Clara Countywide Trails Master Plan. The trail runs on Stanford University land from the south corner of Page Mill Road and Foothill Expressway and alongside Page Mill to Deer Creek Road. It crests over a ridge and winds down to where Arastradero Road crosses under Interstate 280.

The path over the ridge is designed for pedestrians. Separate lanes planned for bicyclists will continue along Deer Creek Road. At the high point of the trail, hikers will have views of the San Francisco skyline, bridges across the bay, Mt. Diablo and Mt. Hamilton.

"This trail was a long time coming. It is beautiful, and we are pleased that the public can now enjoy it," Larry Horton, senior associate vice president for public affairs at Stanford, said.

Stanford Director of Land Use and Environmental Planning Charles Carter, who oversaw the trail's development, praised the county Parks and Recreation Department for its collaboration in designing and building the trail.

"This isn't a nature trail per se, but it crosses a variety of landscapes where one can see native oak trees, riparian communities, grasslands and wildflowers, birds and other wildlife. I hope people enjoy it and recognize how Stanford's stewardship of its land resources yields public benefits."

Hikers should plan to walk or bicycle to the trail since the area offers no public parking. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset, Stanford officials said. Although maintained by Stanford, the trail will come under the auspices of Santa Clara County. Stanford has granted a land-use easement to the county.

"I walked the lower part of the trail two weeks ago myself and enjoyed it a lot. It's a great addition to our recreational opportunities," Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss said.

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