San Pedro Valley County Park Facilities
The park maintains restrooms, potable water, picnic areas and barbecue pits. On weekends when volunteer staff is available, the visitors center is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm with trail guides and bird/animal lists available. The museum contains interesting displays of the major plants, animals, insects and reptiles found in the park. Children will especially enjoy the interactive nature displays. Books and maps are on sale at the desk. For more information on San Pedro Valley County Park, visit the San Mateo County Department of Parks.
No dogs are allowed in the park. Bicycles are allowed only on Weiler Ranch Road. The park is open from 8:00am until dusk.
Take Highway One to Linda Mar Blvd, then head east on Linda Mar Blvd. until it dead-ends at Oddstad Blvd. Turn right on Oddstad, go about 100 feet and turn left into the park entrance at Rosita Road. By bus, take SamTrans 1L to Linda Mar Blvd. and Highway One. Transfer there to the 10L and get off at Linda Mar and Oddstad and walk to the park entrance.
Entrance fees are $5.00 per car
San Pedro Valley Park is a walker's paradise. There are trails for all ages and fitness levels. They'll even lend you a special wheelchair equipped for mountainous outdoors trails. There are three easy trails: Old Trout Farm Trail which is broad and level and passes through willow bushes and riparian areas along the Middle Fork of San Pedro Creek; Weiler Ranch Road, which is open to bicycles and passes through a series of wide meadows carpeted with wildflowers; and Plaskon Nature Trail, a short walk through a watery wonderland. More challenging are: Brooks Falls Overlook, a narrow .7 mile hike with views of a seasonal waterfall; Valley View Trail, a winding 1.6 mile hill trail with many switchbacks; Hazelnut/Big Canyon Trail Loop, a 4.5 mile trail offering wide vistas of San Pedro Valley and beyond; and the Montara Mountain Trail, a nine-mile round trip providing a rigorous but rewarding climb through several plant communities and panoramic views of Montara Mountain to Point Reyes.
Wildlife abounds in the park, including blacktail deer, rabbits, red-tailed hawks and scrub jays. In the evenings, bobcat, grey fox, coyotes and even a rare mountain lion come down to the stream to get water.
The Plaskon Nature Trail is a wonderful peek into a riparian woodland. You'll find this trail at the foot of the north parking lot. As you cross the bridge to enter the trail, notice that the temperature drops markedly. This sensitive streamside habitat contains several species of willow, ferns, trillium, creek dogwood, giant vetch and watercress. A variety of birds are year-round residents of the creek area including flickers, chickadees, bushtits, towhees and sparrows. In spring and summer, visiting thrushes, orioles, warblers and vireos add to the chorus. The canopy of trees overhead creates a climate that is a perfect breeding ground for steelhead trout. A delightful spot for trout watching is the steelhead observation blind, a bridge that stops midstream, located directly behind the visitors center.
Steelhead come up San Pedro Creek to spawn between December and March. Like salmon, they unerringly return from the ocean to the stream of their birth to mate. They're handsome fish, large and gunmetal gray, with a silvery stripe on the side and a white underbelly. Upon arriving, the female digs nests in the clean gravel by turning on her side and swimming rapidly. Once the eggs are deposited and fertilized, the parents return to the ocean.
In approximately fifty days, the eggs hatch. The fry wriggle their way to the surface where they hide among the overhanging plants and school up for safety. Once they attain six inches or so, they're ready to try the open sea. In the summer, you may see a few hardy souls heading downstream toward San Pedro Beach. A small number of steelhead never leave their streamside home. These stay quite small and resemble rainbow trout with red side strips and numerous black spots.
San Pedro Creek is one of the few remaining steelhead streams in San Mateo County. Elsewhere, the habitat for this fish has been destroyed by urbanization, flood control and silt from logging. Pacifica's trout population is severely depleted and was nearly wiped out a few years ago when a chlorine spill, probably from an emptying swimming pool, poisoned the stream and killed thousands of fish.
June Langhoff (10/22/95)