Wunderlich Park is a hillside area of redwood forest, open meadows, and beautiful oaks and madrones. The park is largely open space, with a system of beautiful trails. Both riding and hiking are available. This area was donated to the County by Martin Wunderlich. It contains what was once the Folger family ranch, and the estate stable and surrounding buildings have been restored to provide a historic treasure to the community.
The first users of Wunderlich Park were the Costanoan Indians who were numerous in the area. Woodside Valley entered current recorded history on November 6, 1769, when the first Portola expedition camped in the valley.
One of the first prominent settlers was John Copinger, who was granted the Canada de Raymundo Rancho on August 4, 1840 by Governor Alvarado. This rancho consisted of most of the eastern slopes and valleys in the Woodside area, including Wunderlich Park. In 1846 Charles Brown received from Copinger a formal deed to 2,880 acres of timbered slopes and valley range, which contained Wunderlich Park.
In 1872 Simon Jones purchased 1,500 acres of the western portion of the property and named it "Hazel Wood Farm". He went on to prove that it had value beyond its lumber. Under his guiding hand the mountainside bloomed. Utilizing Chinese labor, he cleared the matted natural growth, built rock retaining walls, planted grapes and fruit trees and developed the property into a working ranch. Some of the buildings still remain and some of the planting is still evident to this day.
Jones died in 1890 and his son Everett sold the property to James A Folger II on October 12, 1902, Folger came to California in 1850 and had gone into the coffee business in San Francisco. Under Folger's ownership, the land changed roles, becoming a recreation area, suited to the family's taste. Wagon trails and old skid roads became riding and carriage trails. Weekend campouts were quite common in the area of Alambique Creek.
In 1904 Folger developed the first hydro electrical power system in this part of California. Waters from Alambique Creek were used to develop this power.
The next owner of the property was contractor Martin Wunderlich, who purchased the property from the Folger's in November 1956. In 1974 he graciously tendered it for public recreation by deeding 942 acres to San Mateo County for use as park and open space.
Wunderlich Park offers numerous trails, some for horseback riding and hiking, and some for just hiking. Trails run along gulches and creeks, others traverse unique hillside habitats and lead you to breathtaking views of the countryside.
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.
Wunderlich is a very rural and undeveloped park. General facilities are minimal and include water and restrooms in the parking area. Near the park entrance you will discover beautiful, century-old Folger Stable. Around this historic site are several structures of interest, including the Carriage Room museum. (Learn more about the museum under Activities below.)
Wunderlich Park affords over 900 acres of coastal mountain environment for a variety of activities. Many miles of trails afford even the experienced hiker many hours of pleasure. Many of the trails are also open to equestrian use, making this park one of the favorite destinations of the local equestrian community.
Originally belonging to the Folger family (of Folgers Coffee fame) this estate was used as a warm country getaway from San Francisco's cold summers. In 2010 the Folger Stable and surrounding buildings opened to the public after extensive renovations. The site remains an enchanting example of the bygone "great estates" era.
The original Carriage Room within the main stable has been transformed into a museum that showcases local history, including the farming and horse and buggy eras. For more about history of the site and guided tours visit the Friends of Huddart & Wunderlich site.
Days and Hours of Operation
Wunderlich Park is open every day of the year including all holidays. It opens daily at 8:00 A.M. The 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)
Wunderlich County Park comprises 942 acres of steep mixed forest and meadowland. It consists of four general areas: a lower area of boarding stables, riding facilities, and a horse ring that was the Folger Ranch complex; an open meadow midway up the slope of the park; and then extending up through beautiful canyons with a running stream and numerous springs through dense second growth redwood groves, an upper meadow area at a general elevation of 2,000 ft. Exceptional vistas are found in all directions.
Several different plant communities offer a varied habitat for the creatures found in the park. Along the streams and in gullies, the majestic coast redwoods provide a cool, well-shaded environment. Here sword fern and redwood sorrel provide luxuriant cover for large, yellow banana slugs that inch slowly on their way.
In contrast, the chaparral areas are hot and dry. Few trees exist here. Shrubs, such as manzanita, chamise, chaparral pea, and yerba santa form a thick, almost impenetrable mass of brush. Here the visitor can see jackrabbits, brush bunnies, chipmunks, and lizards scurrying through the underbrush. Birds that are often seen and heard are quail, scrub jays, and wrentits.
Bordering the chaparral and the redwood forest is the mixed evergreen forest, which covers most of the park. Here trees, such as tanbark oak, madrones, California laurel, coast live oak, and Douglas fir are dominant. Beneath the trees are many shrubs, including sticky monkey flower, wild lilac, toyon, wood rose, and poison oak. Brilliant wildflowers, such as western hound's tongue, Indian warrior, and Fremont's star lily (Zygadene lily) are found along with the graceful wood fern.
Black-tailed deer, raccoons, black squirrels and, less commonly, bobcats, coyotes and grey foxes may be seen. Common birds include acorn woodpeckers, chickadees, towhees, and Stellar jays.
Integrating with the other plant communities in the extreme lower part of the park is the foothill woodland characterized by large white (valley) oaks, black oaks and bay laurel trees.
Prepare for a safe and enjoyable visit to Wunderlich Park and other San Mateo County Parks by being aware of your natural environment.
Directions to the Park
When coming to Wunderlich Park from the north (San Francisco) or the south (San Jose), use Highway 280. Turn off at the Woodside Road (Highway 84) exit. Turn westbound (towards Woodside). Proceed approximately 4 miles through the Town of Woodside. The main park entrance will be on the west (right) side of the roadway.
When coming to Wunderlich Park from Highway 1 (the coast side) or Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard), turn onto Highway 84 eastbound. Proceed towards the Town of Woodside. Proceed approximately 1/2 mile past the intersection of Portola Road. The entrance to the park will be on the west (left) side.
Wunderlich Park's only reservable facilty, the Carriage House, is booked for the entire day. Meeting center rental fees apply. Payment in full, by credit card, is required at the time you make the reservation.
To reserve, or for questions, call the San Mateo County Parks Department reservations desk at (650) 363-4021.
A number of volunteer activities take place all year long at Wunderlich 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.