Whether you’re browsing neighboring houses for sale in Millbrae, or happen to be the proud owner of a luxury home in Burlingame, the woodland parks and wildlife sanctuaries that one can roam through within and around “The City of Trees” (as Burlingame is affectionately called) are the crowning jewels of naturally opulent amenities while living in the Peninsula area. There are always new gems of nature to discover, new trails to explore for the experienced hiker and the casual walker alike—with a little something for everyone to discover:
Mills Canyon Wildlife Refuge
Credit: All Trails
This landscape of aesthetic beauty is right in Burlingame’s own backyard. Mills Canyon is home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna species native to the Coastal Foothills—a place where red-tailed hawks glide over canyons of towering live oak and bay laurel trees, and field mice make their way through grasslands and fern into the forest in search of that perfect blackberry vine. There are five points of access to the Ed Taylor Loop Trail, which is the main hiking trail that runs the expanse of this refuge. This short and relatively easy 1.4-mile loop trail can be traversed during any time of the year, where a broad variety of wildflowers make their appearance in tune with the changing of the seasons. The trail is moderately trafficked and dog-friendly. However, dogs must be kept on-leash at all times to preserve the delicate balance of the area’s natural ecosystem—which includes poison oak, so take time to recognize and avoid it.
The trail is well-maintained, with markers to guide people along its one-way loop—it’s also marked by a number of informative plaques to educate wanderers about the native flora and fauna. One of the most pleasant ways to experience the refuge is to start your hike from the Arguello Drive entrance. This will take you on an idyllic descent right into the forest and start your hike off on an easy and magical note. A right at the first trail junction will lead you through a woodland canyon toward the cool, refreshing water trickling along Mills Creek—you’ll also pass a spectacular redwood grove and some small waterfalls along the way. From there, you’ll be able to gradually ascend out of the creek canyon and onto a grassy ridge, which has some incredible and picturesque views of the entire canyon as you make your way back to the trailhead. Archeological explorations of the Canyon have revealed tools, mortars, and pestles belonging to the Ohlone tribe, which called the Canyon home for generations—so keep a sharp eye out, as you just might stumble upon a piece of history as you wander through the wood.
Though the trail doesn’t immerse you in wildlife—as a hike through the Miles Canyon Wildlife Refuge will—Sawyer Camp Trail offers visitors the splendor of nature in all its glory viewed through a faraway lens. The length of the trail is embraced by stretches of preserved forests and the Coastal Range ridge and kissed by the pristine waters of the magnificent lake—which seems to take on a variety of different, shimmering, picture-perfect tones as the course of the sun changes throughout the day. Sunrise glinting off of the surroundings makes the trail one of the most inspiring morning runs one can take in the Peninsula area. It’s not uncommon to spot deer and squirrels sharing the trail as you travel while ducks and hawks soar overhead—there are over 180 different species of birds that have been identified along the Sawyer Camp Trail area. Just a stone’s throw away from Burlingame, past neighborhoods of beautiful homes that make up the San Mateo real estate market, travelers coming from Burlingame to the Sawyer Camp Trail are encouraged to leave four-legged companions at home—dogs are not allowed on the trail, as the Watershed area surrounding it is officially recognized as a Biosphere Reserve.
The main trail is a 2.1-mile loop trail that starts from Bayside Park and travels to the Robert E. Woolley State Park Loop. It’s dog-friendly for on-leash furry friends and is great for hikers of all skill levels as there are no hills and it’s all paved. With the waters of the Bay and stunning views of the San Francisco skyline on one side, a smattering of hotels and small businesses on the other, and airplanes soaring overhead from the San Francisco International Airport in the distance, the vibe along the hike takes on a harmonious balance between urban jungle and tranquil nature.
Credit: Trip Advisor
There are a variety of spectacular trails in the park, with a number of them paved for more casual walking and bicycling. The shoreline path is an ideal trail for bird watching along the marina’s edge, with restrooms available near the beach area of the path—which can take on an otherworldly effect as fog crawls along the water toward the shore during an early morning hike. On a pleasantly sunny day, when the winds are just right, one of the highlights of trekking along the shoreline trail is watching wind and kite surfers skim along the surface of the water.
What’s amazing about the luxury of living in Burlingame is that you don’t need to travel far from home to find yourself in another world entirely. Some trails you take may find you deeply immersed and in tune with the wildlife around you. Others might give you the tranquil gift of perspective—with the beauty of Mother Nature captured from a distance. And whether the trail you explore is paved and easy or winds itself through the woods, there is a path for everyone in and around the spectacular City of Trees to lose and find themselves on a hike.
If you’re ready to become a part of the wondrous and wonderful place that is the San Francisco Peninsula, reach out to Mary Ann Texiera and her team of real estate agents. They’re available to answer any questions and help you begin your search for a home in the Bay Area.