A beautiful forest in recovery
HIGHLIGHTS: This 1,084-acre park on the San Francisco Peninsula anchors the southern terminus of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and lies between Huddart County Park and the historical Filoli mansion. Though it was heavily logged in the 19th century, the property’s thriving second-growth redwoods and oak woodlands support abundant wildlife. Originally part of a Spanish land grant, the estate ultimately was purchased by Herman and Mary Elena Phleger in 1937. Herman served as a Councilor of Save the Redwoods League, and when he died his widow began negotiations with Peninsula Open Space Trust to protect the property forever. POST acquired the property in 1994, and transferred it to the National Park Service.
ACTIVITIES: Phleger’s greatest appeal is its serene woodlands and the pervading sense of a bygone era. The robust second-growth redwood forest and old mill sites provide a fascinating if somewhat bittersweet perspective on the history of the San Francisco Peninsula. Hiking, horseback riding and picnicking are popular, and the estate is a great birding venue.
VISITOR CENTER: None.
CAMPGROUNDS: Not allowed.
TRAILS: The estate has four trails, but access is only through adjacent Huddart Park. They can be combined for different routes varying from 4.5 to 8.5 miles. The Miramontes Trial runs parallel to West Union Creek under a forested canopy, providing a particularly pleasant hike. (This trail may be closed occasionally following heavy rains.)
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: The estate’s redwood forest is not only tranquil and beautiful, it is instructive. The estate was thoroughly logged more than a hundred years ago, leaving a bare landscape scattered with gargantuan stumps. But the redwoods returned, and are slowly regaining the characteristics that will ultimately develop into a wholly revitalized old-growth ecosystem. Phleger’s trees show that redwood forests truly can be restored with time and proper management.
HIDDEN GEM: The estate has two defunct mill sites dating to the 1800s: Jagger’s Shingle Mill and Whipple’s Lower Mill. Both are located at the base of the Miramontes Trail. Though they are now almost completely returned to the soil, they were thriving enterprises in their time, processing the great trees that were logged on the estate and adjacent properties.
FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: None.
DOGS: Not allowed.
ENTRANCE FEE: Access is through Huddart Park, which charges $6 per vehicle.
MORE INFORMATION: Call 415-561-4323 or visit the estate’s webpage.
PLACES TO EAT AND STAY: Robert’s Market in Woodside offers delicious sandwiches, and is conveniently close to the estate. Also in Woodside is The Mountain House, a rustic restaurant popular with local equestrians that specializes in game, fresh seafood, steaks and pasta.
EAT: For yummy comfort food and hilarious decor, try eating at Buck’s Restaurant (external link).
Megan Ferreira Derhammer, former staff member, says “Don’t miss stopping at San Benito Deli (external link) for a famous sandwich on their delicious fresh baked bread.”
STOP: Megan recommends browsing in the shops along Half Moon Bay’s Main Street.
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Acres Protected by the League: none
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