You won’t get lost at Wunderlich. The signs won’t let you.
Perhaps all the San Mateo County Parks Department sites have signs this good — it’ll be worth checking out the rest to see for myself. Every trail junction is marked, with mileage to the next junction and total distance back to Square One. A few choice locales even have the elevation.
Mind you, the maps available at the trailhead are printed on cheap paper and only marginally useful on the trail (another great reason to invest a buck in the shaded-relief maps Erik makes at virtualparks.org), but if you can read the signs you can get by just fine.
The world can be rife with war, pestilence in famine but if I’m on a well-marked trail, the planet’s fine with me.
The other nice thing about Wunderlich: it’s built on a hillside like all the other parks around here, but the trails are all manageable inclines going both ways. This morning I hiked 5.5 miles from the parking lot to Skyline Boulevard (about 1,600 feet of climb) and never once got that “this is starting to really suck” sensation that usually kicks in while hiking uphill for two hours.
Other winning attributes: almost all in the shade, scads of young redwoods, scads of other kinds of trees, only three miles from I-280.
Only two downsides: it’s a horse park, so you have to step around a lot of poop; and it’s very close to civilization, so you get fair amount of car/jetliner/people noise — hiking with your iPod is forgivable here.
OK, let’s look at some pictures:
Melissa came along on her first five-miler on Sunday. I think this horse would’ve quite willingly given her a ride, he was quite gentlemanly.
There’s a large stable built early in the 1900s by the guy who started Folgers coffee — the stable’s still being used, apparently to the chagrin of this horse, who looks eager to make a run for it if a stablehand leaves something unlatched.
OK, on to the trails. Melissa admires on the many tall, tall trees.
I still dream of the day when I find a perfect spider web that fills the whole frame and is lit properly. I’m getting a little closer.
Soon, a rodent’s luck will run out.
We’re starting to see some splashes of fall color.
There’s a massive old stump that his two big holes in it. I happened to be there in time to catch a shot of the sun shining through the top one.
This morning I was up before dawn and back at the park just as the sun topped the Diablo Range. Wundelich has a few vistas looking out over the South Bay but it’s still too hazy to have much of a view.
Morning sun lights up a buckeye tree.
Fuzzy seed pods with a slightly blue cast.
A spot called The Crossroads is about halfway between the parking lot and Skyline Boulevard. Multiple benches make it an excellent rest stop.
More towering tree canopy.
The Meadows have a sublime view of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Redwood Trail is one of the nicest in the park. It connects with the Madrone Trail, a close competitor for nicest-trail awards. Both are less than 2 miles from the parking lot, so they can be seen without too much effort.
Eucalyptus, the bane of Northern California parks.
So that’s a quick look at Wunderlich. BAhiker writeup is here. Jane Huber calls it one of her favorite autumn hikes. No argument from me.