Hike by Kate Brittain, originally published in the April 2008 issue of Bay Nature magazine
You can't miss San Bruno Mountain, just south of San Francisco, rising out of the urban landscape. And you shouldn't miss it. Here, an impressive 2,750 acres have been preserved. They are a haven, and not only for the humans who visit, searching for solitude; San Bruno is one of the last remaining habitats of a host of endangered species. Most famous are three butterflies: the Mission blue, the Callippe silverspot, and the San Bruno elfin.
Stroll around the Saddle Trail (2.9 miles) for a chance to spot these rarities among the wildflowers. Silver lupine, owl's clover, golden-eyed grass, and others are on colorful display among bunchgrasses and shrubs throughout the spring. The trail doesn't go to the summit, but it offers excellent views out to the Bay and up to southern Marin.
Seemingly idyllic, San Bruno is in fact in trouble. Invasive species threaten to push out natives. Detour down the Bog Trail to spot one project aiming to combat this trend: the Colma Creek headwaters restoration. Here, a stand of eucalyptus was felled to make way for natives like arroyo willows and creek dogwood. The work is ongoing, and volunteers are invited to participate. Visit the San Bruno Mountain Watch website to get involved.
Getting there: The park is at 555 Guadalupe Canyon Parkway, accessible from Highway 101 and Interstate 280. A parking lot provides access to the Saddle Trail, a picnic area, and restrooms.