Distance 5.2 miles, Loop
Hiking Time 2 to 3 hours
Elevation Gain/ Loss ± 1000 feet
Best Times All year
Agency SMCP& R
Park Rules No Dogs
Recommended Map Huddart Park (SMCP& R)
HIGHLIGHTS Visitors encounter three different plant communities — redwood forest, mixed-evergreen forest, and chaparral — on this invigorating loop, which uses the Crystal Springs and Dean trails to explore some of the canyons and hillsides between West Union Creek and Skyline Blvd. (If you have time, also visit the Chickadee Nature Trail, a fully accessible trail that accommodates users of all capabilities; it starts beside the first parking area, the handicapped-only zone, on the right.)
DIRECTIONS From I-280 in Woodside, take the Woodside Road/ Woodside/ Highway 84 exit and go southwest 1.6 miles to Kings Mountain Road. Turn right and go 2.1 miles to the park entrance, right. After 0.2 mile you come to an entrance kiosk and a self-registration station. There are parking areas just ahead on both sides of the road.
FACILITIES/ TRAILHEAD The park has group picnic areas, shelters, and youth campgrounds that can be reserved; (650) 363-4021. Phone and water are near the parking areas. Restrooms are about 0.2 mile ahead in the Zwierlein area. The trailhead is several hundred feet north of the parking areas, on the east side of the paved road signed for the Werder, Zwierlein, Madrone, and Miwok areas.
Woodside resident and lumberman James Huddart gave 900 acres for this public park, which the county has operated since 1944. The trailhead here provides access to trails in this park and also to those in the Phleger Estate. You follow a single track that descends to a junction with the Bay Tree Trail, right. Continuing straight , you pass the Zwierlein picnic area, with restrooms, on your left. Now you reach a junction with the Crystal Springs Trail, a hiking and equestrian route that runs from near the junction of Highway 92 and Cañada Road to just shy of Skyline Blvd. on Kings Mountain. Bearing left, you follow a rolling course past a junction with the Dean Trail, your return route, left. The cutting of switchbacks has caused severe erosion problems here: please stay on the trail. Now the trail descends on a gentle grade via switchbacks into a canyon holding a seasonal tributary of West Union Creek, shown on the park map as McGarvey Gulch Creek. In the canyon bottom, a connector to the Richards Road Trail goes straight, but you turn left and cross a bridge over the creek. Now turning right, you cross a second bridge over another watercourse and then begin to climb on a moderate grade. (A gate here, one of several along the route, prevents access by horses during wet weather.) Huddart Park Greenery Coast redwoods, Douglas-firs, coast live oaks, madrones, and tanbark oaks are accompanied in this park by hearty shrubs such as manzanita, blue blossom, toyon, and chaparral pea. The shady, moist environment is perfect for California bay, coffeeberry, bigleaf maple, hazelnut, ferns, and berry vines. At a junction with the Chaparral Trail, you stay on the Crystal Springs trail by turning sharply left. Passing a junction with the Canyon Trail, left, you enjoy an easy stroll across a hillside that drops right. Switchbacks help you gain elevation , and soon you pass through a grove of manzanitas, many of which are dead. The grade eases and now you follow a level or gently rising course. An inviting rest bench made of rock is on your right. After a few more switchbacks, you meet a connector to the Richards Road Trail, but you stay on course by turning left. Ahead is a short trail to the Toyon group camp, but again you veer left to stay on the Crystal Springs Trail.
At about 2 miles you cross a dirt-and-gravel road, signed TOYON ROAD but called the Campground Trail on the park map.
Young coast redwoods produce bright green foliage. The wooded canyons of this park once held magnificent ancient redwoods, and some of the earliest sawmills in the Santa Cruz Mountains operated nearby. Massive stumps near the trail are evidence of this bygone era. At a junction with a road not shown on the park map, your trail curves right and begins a series of switchbacks to gain elevation. After traversing the wall of a canyon, the trail makes an abrupt left turn and climbs on a moderate grade to a junction with the Dean Trail . You join the single-track Dean Trail by going straight and descending. Before reaching a seasonal creek, you pass McGarvey Flat, a lovely spot with a picnic table and several rest benches hewn from logs.
A level walk soon brings you to a four-way junction (shown incorrectly on the park map), where you bear left to stay on the Dean Trail.
McGarvey Gulch Creek, which you crossed near the start of this loop, is downhill and left. Gently descending via S-bends, you soon reach a four-way junction with the Archery Fire Road. Regaining the Dean Trail across the road, you switchback left and again cross the Archery Fire Road, at about 4 miles. At the edge of a paved road near the Miwok picnic area, your trail turns sharply left and then begins a series of switchbacks, descending past the Madrone picnic area. Now you cross the Campground Trail, a paved road that changes to dirt a few feet to your left. Stay on the Dean Trail, here a wide path, as it makes a curving descent past more picnic areas. At a T-junction with the Crystal Springs Trail, you turn right and retrace your route to the parking area.
Content from Weintraub, David [masked]). Afoot and Afield: San Francisco Bay Area: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide