Before you even get to the park, you’ll notice that people in Woodside love horses. You may see advertisements for the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA), horse-crossing signs, and multimillion-dollar plots of land for stables. In fall, Woodside hosts an event called “Day of the Horse.” For equestrians looking for a trail ride, Wunderlich County Park has been home to horses for more than
Set amid the park’s 942 acres of mixed evergreen forests, chaparral, meadows, and coast redwoods is Folger Estate Historic Site, originally constructed in 1905 for coffee magnate James Folger. Among the buildings are elegant, well-kept stables that housed the family’s horses, and, later, those belonging to Martin and Muriel Wunderlich, who bought the property in 1955. This group of buildings spread over three acres, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was donated to the County of San Mateo in 1974. Today the stables offer beginner trail rides, horseback riding lessons, and pony rides, as well as horseback riding day camps for kids and boarding services for horse owners.
However, the most popular way to explore Wunderlich is on foot. There are miles of trails and unpaved roads covered by a thick forest of oaks, Pacific madrones, and coast redwoods bisected by Alambique Creek. The creek is one of many tributaries that flows down into Searsville Lake in Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and ultimately into San Francisco Bay. Horseback riders are allowed on most trails and always have the right of way. “Trails are regularly inspected and evaluated especially during the wet season,” according to County of San Mateo communications specialist Carla Schoof in an email. “Trails may be closed to equestrian use when the trails need to dry out to ensure water runoff and to prevent erosion.”
Most of the park is shaded, but if you follow the aptly named Meadow Trail, the trees eventually thin out, revealing a wide and sun-drenched area called the Meadows. During spring, look for white globe lilies, warrior’s plume, and Douglas iris along the way. At 1,430 feet, there’s a grand vista of the southern part of the San Francisco Bay or, sometimes, the top of a fluffy white blanket of fog.
Trails: A trip to visit the Meadows is a 4.2-mile loop from the Folger stables.
The Draw: Horseback riding and a local history museum that’s open on the weekends.
Access & Facilities: Museum, bathrooms, and parking lot are ADA-accessible. No dogs, bikes, or motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails.
Transit: $6 parking lot, 4040 Woodside Rd., Woodside. No public transportation.