"The Larry Lane Trail"


Town of Portola Valley


(Part of the series, "Benches and Other Great Places for Lunch"--short hikes to special places just right for a qiet getaway)


". . .like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning. . ."                                                    - II Samuel 23:4


Directions: From Highway 280, take Alpine Road. Go west on Alpine Road three miles to the intersection with Portola Road. Turn right on Portola Road and continue 2.2 miles past the shopping area to Hayfields Road. Turn left and proceed west for about a block. On your right, just below the trailhead, is a small off-road parking area for two or three cars. If this parking area is filled, park along Portola Road and walk in.

Grade: Moderate. Elevation gain of 460 feet.

Distance: About two miles.

Time: One hour.

Special Conditions: Dogs, equestrians, and hikers are permitted on this trail. No bicycles. The trail is well maintained. No problem with poison oak if you stay on the trail. No water or restrooms. This trail is managed by the Town of Portola Valley (650-851-1700).


                As the ardent hiker knows, the Peninsula has many miles of trails, spreading throughout the tens of thousands of acres set aside as park land and open space. And a few of these trails are named as memorials for persons who have in some way influenced and encouraged development of our wonderful trail system, for example, the Polly Geraci Trail at Pulgas Ridge OSP, the Ray Linder Trail at Butano State Park, and the Betsey Crowder Trail at Windy Hill OSP.

            And this week's feature is the Larry Lane Trail. A signboard tells that the trail was "dedicated as a memorial to Laurence W. Lane, who loved to ride these hills with his family and friends." Long live the memory of these dedicated trail advocates and pioneers!

            Begin this hike on the north side of Hayfields Road about a block west of Portola Road. There is limited off-road parking for two or three cars just before the trailhead. The first trail sign notes that Hayfields View is one mile ahead.

            The trail begins a switchback ascent, climbing past several homes along the way. Patches of oak forest provide periodic shade, and now and then you can catch a view of the East Bay Hills.

            Soon the trail runs parallel to an asphalt road--a continuation of Hayfields Road--and then crosses over it at a hairpin curve to a reentry point next to a private parking area. Continue on, staying left at the unmarked junction, and pass by another of several small benches along the side of the trail. Watch for a small grove of redwood trees ahead just before the trail crosses over the asphalt road.

            A new trail sign ahead indicates that it is .8 mile to the Hayfileds View area. To the right are a double fence line and a planted area that was once a hayfield. After crossing over a service road, you will see a bench and the Larry Lane dedication sign on your left.

            At the next junction, stay left, dropping down slightly through two ravines before climbing to the Hayfields View site. A bench at the trailside offers an inviting place to picnic or just sit and enjoy the view from Mount Diablo south to Mount Hamilton.

            From this point, the trail slopes down toward a eucalyptus grove and a gate allowing access only to members of the Woodside Trail Club. A little farther on is another lookout before you reach a picnic area with two picnic tables and a hitching rail. This completes the loop, and in 20 more minutes you will be back at the trailhead.

            The trail is dry and hot this time of year (October). I suggest that you start your hike just before dawn and watch the sunrise over the East Bay Hills. If the morning is clear, the color spectrum from gray to red to orange and yellow is well worth the early morning wake-up call.

            Your comments and hiking suggestions are always welcome.

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