Windy Hill is a one thousand, three hundred and thirty-five acre piece of land and has just over twelve miles of trails.
And we took on a five mile hike that included an eight hundred foot elevation climb in roughly two and a half miles. There are a few switch backs but there were also quite a few straight shots at quick altitude changes. Well, not so quick when you're crawling up these hills.
At the bottom of the hike, everyone is funneled through one entrance gate at the parking lot we chose, off of Portola Valley Rd. If yo have a leash reactive dog, you have to take a tiny bit of precaution at the entrance.
The first half mile you might not want to linger too long. The black flies will spot you and claim you as theirs! If you keep on the move, you'll be fine. (This hike was in June. Are black flies seasonal?)
The beginning trail isn't too harshly inclined, but as you get going, it will get steeper.
You do have an 800 foot elevation to tackle. At least on the route we tackled, which skirted the north side of the park as it climbed towards Skyline Dr.. Yes, I just said that. I can get to Skyline Dr via this park.
As you get higher (and I thought "The Dish" hills were a nice vantage point!) the views start to become spectacular and worthy as I took a liberal number of breaks to "stop" and "admire" the view. Which is code for catch my dang breath. (If you have a camera, it lends credence to the "admiring" part of the rest stops.)
There's lots of shade in the first half, and there's a little bit of shade well placed here and there on the way up.
We brought lots of water, as should you. We ended up giving a bottle to a group of hikers who were on their final legs of a huge hike. They weren't looking that hot.
Even though I joke and make it sound tough, it's something you can do at your own pace and you should be fine. And proud when you realize what you just tackled.
There's a bathroom at the parking lot. Which, by the way, the parking lot seemed big enough.
There were NO trash cans that we could find anywhere around. We had to pack out the poop in the back of the truck. I can only imagine that inspires those buttheads who leave their dog poop in inappropriate locations.
All in all, if you take something to snack on, some water, and a camera, there are plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the view.
Though you might want to keep an eye on your pup. At one point Vader got pretty tired and we had to carry him for a little way, but then he recharged and was quite spry on the last third of the hike. Which was downhill.
more info at www.openspace.org: windy_hill