Bay area hikes with kids: Skyline Ridge, Alice’s and the Methuselah tree

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Banana slug

The modern family is currently enjoying the rain (!) in California. A good friend lives off Skyline Blvd. in Woodside, on the western ridge of Silicon Valley. We love to visit at her renovated 1930s mountain cabin, which is nestled amongst giant Redwoods and fragrant dark green Bay trees. There is always some sort of interesting wildlife to entertain the girls, like this bright yellow banana slug we saw schooching across her pine deck.




Another plus to visiting is that is near Skyline Ridge, one of 26 nature preserves in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a matrix of over 58,000 acres of mountains, foothills, and bayland open space.



There’s a huge pond with lots of wildlife, including turtles!

Nature centre


The David Daniels Nature Centre is packed with all kinds of things from the local area, a children’s discovery board and a whole table of items they are encouraged to touch. We learned all kinds of things — including that poison oak and poison ivy are the SAME PLANT. Whatever you call it, stay away from it. The nature center usually has a snake, but he was molting and was taking a break at the ranger’s house.


Hungry? Try Alice’s Restaurant, home to the best speciality burgers. The clientelle  is Silicon Valley at its best: lean mountain bikers mix with leather-wearing Harley owners.  The eatery, situated at the intersection of Highways 35 and 84, is the ultimate Greasy Spoon, offering comfort food in a  picturesque setting. Over the years, the place has become a favourite among bikers–guys and gals who ride their Harleys out the windy Old La Honda Road (Highway 84) to the coast. The restaurant also attracts locals who crave the burgers with applewood-smoked bacon.

We went across the road to the delicatessen to get dessert: a wide selection of favourites including Good Humor Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches, Oreo cookie bars, Starbucks chocolate coated coffee ice cream bars, It’s It and Dreamsicles.


While you are in the area, stop by and see the Methuselah tree on Skyline Blvd. (about five minutes from Alice’s). It’s 1,800-years-old.

Where are your favourite hikes?


Alice’s Restaurant 17288 Skyline Blvd, Woodside, CA 94062, United States +1 650-851-0303

Skyline Ridge Part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, the preserve’s entrance is located about one mile south of the Page Mill Road / Alpine Road and Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) intersection.

Methuselah Tree 15600-15898 California 35 Redwood City, CA 94062 ‎Directions.

Thomas Fogarty Winery 19501 Skyline Blvd, Woodside, CA 94062 +1 650-851-6777

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  1. Taylor Jones
    21/04/2011 / 19:01

    Skyline Ridge sure is gorgeous, thanks for the pics! If you are interested in more family friendly Bay Area hikes, check out Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  2. 20/04/2011 / 10:18

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  3. 20/04/2011 / 06:44

    I wonder if slugs are universally loathed throughout the world…. the yellow one’s cousins just mullered my globe artichokes! Grrr.

  4. A Modern Mother
    20/04/2011 / 03:41

    They are lovely, aren’t they!

  5. A Modern Mother
    20/04/2011 / 03:40

    Alas, we may have to wait until summer!

  6. 20/04/2011 / 00:07

    OOh the banana slugs, love them. What a shame we can’t meet for coffee in CA. Bizarrely I’m in London over the Royal Wedding weekend, unfortunately not invited (Blow! Not fair!) but would love to meet on the Monday or Tues –

  7. 19/04/2011 / 15:03

    That slug has made me itch just from looking at it!