Edgewood County Park and Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve are two parks located on the hotter and drier east side of Interstate 280 in the San Carlos hills. The vegetation is a mix of grassland, chaparral, and oak woodland. It can get very hot here so it’s a good idea to either visit on a cooler day or do the training in the early morning or evening. The terrain is generally hilly with some nice vistas of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Peninsula lowlands, and the Bay.
Edgewood Park (Map) has a few nice trails worth checking out. The Sylvan trail is labeled the “exercise trail” and it provides a nice 2.5 mile loop that is mainly forested with graded inclines. The Ridgeview trail loop is also nice with great views of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and the Bay to the east. The Edgewood Trail provides a link to the Canada road trail, Crystal Springs Reservoir, Woodside Town Trails, and Huddart Park.
At Pulgas Ridge (Map), the best trails are the Dusky-Footed Woodrat trail, the Polli Geraci Trail, and the Dick Bishop Trail. The Dusky-Footed Woodrat is a native rat that feeds on vegetation, seeds, and nuts, and live in a complex structure built of sticks (they are known as the “architects”). My favorite part of the park was the oak forest in the lower elevations near Cordilleras Creek and I’d like to come back after some rains when the streams are flowing. The upper portion is mainly chapparal with great views of Edgewood Park and surrounding hills.
For being so near highway 280 (you can see and hear the highway in spots), these parks are surprisingly nice and offer some fun running that is closer than other trail running options. When I ran here, I combined the trails in Edgewood and Pulgas Ridge, but you can easily use Edgewood as a starting point for long runs and link-ups to other trails and parks.