November 9, 2017

Explore Native Plants and the San Andreas Fault on Filoli's Estate Trail

Hiking Filoli's Estate Trail

photo by: Patricia Dennis

Hikers explore the new one-mile Estate Trail at Filoli, a National Trust Historic Site.

There’s already plenty to do on the 654 acres of land that make up Filoli, a National Trust Historic Site in Woodside, California. You can tour the sprawling Georgian Revival mansion, built for prominent San Francisco entrepreneur William Bowers Bourn II in 1917 and now filled with 17th- and 18th-century English antiques. Or you can stroll the 16 acres of formal gardens on the grounds. You can also explore the 600 fruit trees growing in the “gentleman’s orchard,” which was featured in the Fall 2017 issue of Preservation magazine. And then beyond the house, gardens, and orchard, there’s the Filoli Nature Preserve, which offers guided nature hikes and educational programming.

And now visitors to the grand country estate have yet another feature to explore: Filoli’s new one-mile Estate Trail.

The Estate Trail, which opened in September 2017, offers a self-guided hiking opportunity around Filoli’s property, starting in the Daffodil Field on the north side of the garden. The trail takes hikers past the estate’s horse pasture; then on to an agricultural field to learn about the area’s native plants; then to Red’s Barn, where Filoli’s second owners, the Roth family, once kept their horses; and through the Sally MacBride Nature Center, a nature education museum inside an old barn. Near the end of the trail, hikers can stand along the American and Pacific Tectonic Plates and learn about the San Andreas Fault.

Hikers on Filoli's Estate Trail

photo by: Erika Frank

The hike offers a family-friendly visitor's experience.

Along the path, there is plenty of interpretive signage, educating hikers about the area’s history, geology, farming practices, native plants, animals, and seasonal attractions.

The entire trail presents a new way to learn about the 100-year-old site and how its early residents lived on and used the land. But it’s also an opportunity for visitors to see how the land continues to be cared for today.

Filoli Estate Trail

photo by: Julie Bly DeVere

The trail winds through fields and wooded areas.

Sally MacBride Nature Center

photo by: Richard Simmonds

The entrance to the Sally MacBride Nature Center.

Access to the Estate Trail is included in the price of admission to Filoli. It’s open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. The last hikers are allowed out at 3:30 p.m., as all hikers must return by 4:30 p.m.

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based field editor of Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about art, architecture, and public space, and hopes to one day restore her very own Arts and Crafts-style bungalow.

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