Thornewood Open Space Preserve is a small park off Highway 84 between Woodside and Skylonda. There is not enough mileage here for a long trail run, but it’s a great place for an afternoon walk. The entrance is easy to miss along Hwy 84 so look for a brick gate 1.6 miles past the intersection with Portola Road. A narrow 0.3 mile driveway leads to a parking area and the trailhead for the Schilling Lake Trail. The trail is a wider single track and passes through oak and maple forest with some young Douglas firs. There are a couple open areas where views of Jasper Ridge, Palo Alto, and the San Francisco Bay can be seen.
In 0.6 miles, a junction with the new Bridle Trail is reached. Continuing straight takes you to Schilling Lake, which is more of a wetland/pond, but has a pleasant setting in redwood and fir forest. Turning left at the junction is the new Bridle Trail, which opened in May 2009. This pleasant trail switchbacks down the hillside through a cool redwood grove to Dennis Martin Creek and eventually Old La Honda Road in 0.9 miles. The trail is soft from copious redwood needles. While the redwood grove is second growth, the trees are becoming mature and the forest is very nice, especially for being so close to Woodside and Portola Valley. It will be nice to return here in the winter and spring months when the creeks are flowing.
More photos after the jump!