1801 Crystal Springs Road, San Bruno - (650)589-5708
Nestled behind the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno, Junipero Serra affords a spectacular panorama of the Bay Area; unequaled views to San Bruno Mountain, San Francisco Airport, San Francisco Bay and Mount Diablo. Visitors are drawn to the Oak Foothill plant community, spring wildflowers, the El Zanjon Creek, and the peaceful retreat the area affords from surrounding urban development.
Historically, Costonoan Indians lived in the park’s vicinity prior to the year 1800. They had a varied diet of shellfish, gathered from the bay, as well as native herbs, berries, nuts, birds and mammals, all of which could be found in the park.
The park was once part of the 15,000 acre Buri-Buri Rancho owned by Jose Sanchez. In 1860, Ansel Easton, D.O. Mills, and James Lux acquired title to the Buri-Buri lands. Slowly the large estates were sold and sub-divided, and in 1956, San Mateo County purchased 108 acres for a park.
Junipero Serra Park was named after the missionary father, Father Serra, who came to California in 1770 with Don Gaspar de Portola. Father Serra was responsible for the founding of the missions from San Diego to Sonoma.
Trails lead the visitor through a changing panorama of habitats from the creek, through the woods and to the open grasslands. The self-guided Live Oak Nature Trail offers a short interpretive loop along the park's lower north-facing slope.
Observe all trail signs and posted speed limits. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed off designated paved areas. Please respect your fellow trail users and follow the trail etiquette guidelines for safe and courteous trail use.
Several drop-in family picnic areas are located throughout the park as well as three group picnic areas (Buckeye, Meadow View, and De Anza) that are available by reservation year-round.
There are also day-use facilities in the park for youth group activities only (Oak Cove and Iris Point). They are available by reservation year-round for organized youth groups. They may also be reserved as regular picnic sites.
Two shelter buildings are located in the park, the Willow Shelter and the Bay View Shelter. The Bay View Shelter overlooks the San Francisco International Airport and affords a wonderful view of the general Bay Area. Both shelters are open for use by reservation year-round.
Jumpers are allowed in select Reservation Sites only at Junipero Serra Park (except Buckeye). An additional fee of $90.00 is required and jumpers are allowed only after payment is accepted, and permit issued from the Reservation Office. All paper work, and payments must be submitted a minimum of one week prior to the date of your reservation. Please call the reservations desk for details @ 650.363.4021.
A small visitor center is located at the Park Headquarters. It has exhibits which show the various habitats contained within the Park. An overlook near the Park Headquarters provides and unequaled view of South San Francisco and San Bruno Mountain.
Meadow View Playground re-opened in 2009 after extensive renovations.The new playground provides kids spectacular 54-foot-long double slides and several climbing structures: a large cable net play structure, a smaller climbing apparatus, and climbing boulders. Positioned near the top of the park, adjacent Buckeye and Meadow View picnic areas and the Meadow View Shelter, this area offers a unique view of the bay with a birds eye view of landings and take-offs at San Francisco International Airport.
The Quail Loop Trail (1.2 miles), leads the visitor through a changing panorama of habitats from the creek, through the woods and to the open grasslands. The self-guided Live Oak Nature Trail (.3 mile) offers short interpretive loop along the park's lower north-facing slope. A Live Oak Nature Tail Interpretive Guide is available.
Days and Hours of Operation
Junipero Serra Park opens at 8:00 A.M every day throughout the year (holidays included). Closing time varies by time of year. The closing times are:
December - February 5:00 P.M.
March 6:00 P.M. (before Daylight Savings Time starts)
March 7:00 P.M. (after Daylight Savings Time starts)
April - August 8:00 P.M.
September 8:00 P.M. (through Labor Day)
September 7:00 P.M. (beginning the day after Labor Day)
October 7:00 P.M. (first week[s] of October)
October 6:00 P.M. (last three weeks of October)
November 6:00 P.M. (before Daylight Saving Time ends)
November 5:00 P.M. (after Daylight Saving Time ends)
The 108-acre site, set in the bayside foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is just east of San Andreas Resevoir. Geologically, the knoll that comprises the park is one quarter of a north-facing end slope of a ridge that was quarried over a 40-year time period for its Franciscan Sandstone. The park is bounded on its eastern side by the Serra Fault, while the much larger San Andreas Fault lies ¼ mile to west.
Junipero Serra Park contains valuable remnants of the Foothill Plant Communities that existed in the Bay Area before the coming of the European explorers and settlers. These communities are well suited to the climate, soils and topography of the area.
Common trees to be found in the park are the Coast Live Oak, Arroyo Willow, California Bay Laurel, Madrone, California Buckeye and the introduced Eucalyptus, Monterey Cypress and Monterey Pine. Animals seen in abundance are scrub jays, towhees, banana slugs, raccoons, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures.
An abundance of spring wildflowers are found throughout the park, both on the grassy hillsides and in the wooded areas. The flowers include Douglas Iris, Miners Lettuce, Hounds Tongue, California Buttercup, Soap Plant and Owl Clover. Poison Oak grows abundantly throughout the park, and is to be avoided as it gives most people a skin inflammation, which can be severe.
All of the plant and animal species are protected in the park, and their habitats may be off limits to park users. Please observe signs carefully, and stay on marked trails and out of areas designated as protected.
Prepare for a safe and enjoyable visit to Junipero Serra Park and other San Mateo County Parks by being aware of your natural environment.
Directions to the Park
When coming to Junipero Serra Park from the north (San Francisco), use Highway 280 (southbound). Turn off at the Crystal Springs Road exit. Turn right onto Crystal Springs Road. The park entrance is 1/2 mile up the road on the left-hand side.
When coming to Junipero Serra Park from the south (San Jose), use Highway 280 (northbound). Turn off at the Skyline Blvd exit. At the first stoplight turn right onto San Bruno Ave. Turn right onto Crestmoor Dr. The park entrance will be on your right.
SamTrans buses provide service to key destinations throughout San Mateo County and San Francisco, such as work, schools, malls, civic centers and parks. Please visit SamTrans website to find out how you can take one of their buses to this park.
Junipero Serra Park has three group picnic areas. The De Anza Area is located near the park entrance. The Meadow View Area (formerly the Lower Meadow Area) and the Buckeye Area (formerly the Upper Meadow Area) are located in the upper part of the park just past the park headquarters.
Two shelter facilities are available for day use by reservation. The Bay View Shelter is located just past the park headquarters in the upper part of the park. The Willow Shelter is located near the park entrance.
Two facilities are available for reservation for day use and limited overnight use by organized youth group activities. The Oak Cove Area is located near the park entrance just past the Willow Shelter. The Iris Point area is located at the top of the park near the Bay View Shelter.
The above areas are booked for the entire day. Fees are charged for using these areas. Vehicle fees are also charged at the gatehouse. Payment in full by credit card is required at the time you make the reservation. Reservations are not required for general drop-in use.
A large and varied number of volunteer activities take place all year long at Junipero Serra Park as part of the Parks Department's Volunteer Program. Individuals, groups, families and organizations can take part in trail construction, exotic plant removal, habitat restoration, trail patrol and other beneficial and rewarding projects.
If you are an individual or a member of an organization interested in getting involved in volunteering, please contact Junipero Serra Park or the San Mateo County Parks Volunteer Program.
To preserve the natural environment of Junipero Serra, all park plants, animals and natural features are protected.
Picking or removing wildflowers or other natural material is prohibited.
Fires are permitted in park barbeque grills only - no ground fires.
Cutting and gathering of wood is prohibited.
Dogs and other pets are not allowed.
Youth (17 and younger) must be accompanied by an adult for overnight camping.
Motor vehicles and bicycles are permitted only on paved roadways and in established parking areas.
Firearms and other weapons are prohibited.
Loud radios and the playing of amplified musical instruments are not permitted.
Park opens at 8:00 A.M. and closes at the preset time prior to sunset.
Beer and wine only are allowed in certain areas, no hard liquor.
Smoking is prohibited.
Feeding of wildlife is prohibited.
Leaving designated trails is prohibited.
Fishing and hunting are not permitted per California State Fish and Game Regulations.