Monday, December 12, 2011

Wednesday Search Challenge (Dec 14, 2011): Find that trail!

I may as well admit it: I'm a runner, and I love to run on the trails in the Santa Cruz mountains near home.  It's one of the great reasons to live near the Googleplex--there are wonderful hills to run not very far away.  Here's one not so far from home. 

Last week I was running near here on a hilly trail just west of Mountain View in the city of Los Altos Hills.  They have a wonderful set of trails that wind all over the place, up hill, down dale, and all over hither and yon.  

Sometimes I'll go running and just see where I end up.  It only takes a turn or two before I can find a new trail.  

That's what I did this past weekend--I started running and made a few random turns, ending up on a trail that I'd never seen before!  What I *did* find was a sign-post that said "Wallace Stegner."  Aha!  I was on a trail named for the great writer of the American West!  

I turned around, and ran back the way I'd come, and an hour later was back home trying to find the start of that trail on a map.  

It took me a while, but eventually I was able to find it.  

Can you find the Wallace Stegner trail starting point?  (There are apparently two streetside entrances, but I was only able to find one.)  

The correct answer will be either a street address or a lat/long.   (Just saying which street it's on isn't enough detail.)  

When you post your answer in the comments, be sure to say HOW you found it and HOW LONG you took to find it! 

Search on! 


  1. Three Forks Lane to Edgerton Road.

    after trying with ws trail with no luck, chanceg to ws path los altos hill. found the city council meeting addressing the path's name chance.

    4 minutes.

  2. 13579 3 Forks Lane

    A google search of "Wallace Stegner Path" led me to his Wikipedia page which had a reference to the path;

    The page linked to an article in the SF Chronicle;

    The article referenced the path at 3 Forks Lane and his home address on S Fork Lane;

    I followed Google Street view around 3 Forks Lane until I saw the sign at the entrance to the path.

    The address is approximate.

  3. Not too difficult. Just googled "Wallace Stegner trailhead" and received a link to a Bay Area Hiker page detailing the trail, services available, and directions to parking. Sounds like a nice walk! Took about 1 minute to consider and search, and another minute to verify that it's less than 24 miles from Googleplex.

  4. Parking lot on Skyline Blvd at Grizzly Flat Trail South:
    37.290533, -122.154365
    Seems to be the closest parking to the Wallace Stegner Bench (which I assume would be on/near the trail).

    Searched for Wallace Stegner in Los Altos Hills and found references to a bench in the Skyline Ridge Open Space on Bay Area Hiker. Searching for trail maps of that area, I found which has a pdf trail map. Scanned the map for parking spaces near the bench and found a parking lot at the junction of Skyline Blvd and Grizzly Flat Trail.

    Went to google maps and searched for Skyline Ridge Open Space. Had to do a bit of manual scanning to find the parking lot. Once there, right clicked on the location, opened the What's here? link and got the long & lat.

    Took a while - 15 minutes or so. Had to search on how to get the coordinates. Never would have guessed they were under the What's here? link.

  5. This one was a toughie and I'm still not 100% confident that I've gotten it right! But I think based on your description that you started at the Grizzly Flats trailhead, +37° 17' 25.26", -122° 9' 15.25". Though you could also have started at the Peters Creek trailhead which is about 37.282246,-122.149695.

    Or approximately 22400 Skyline Blvd and 11721 Skyline Blvd, respectively.

    I stumbled a bit at the beginning because "wallace stegner trail" and variations on it didn't give me a trail. So I based this all on the location of the Wallace Stegner bench.

    Which led me to this:

    And then this:

    And then quite honestly I loaded up Google Maps and followed along with the Weekly Walker's instructions to get a feel for the bench location (37.286489,-122.160062 or thereabouts).

    ...holy cow, and including typing this, that's 30 minutes start to finish.

  6. OK, 13579 3 Forks Lane, according to street view. I tried [wallage stegner trail los altos hills ca] on web search (discovered Les Earnest was involved, hmm), found it was called the Wallace Stegner Path, and it was on 3 Forks Lane along Matadero creek. Had a dead end where I tried to find Matadero Creek there using maps and satellite view, but it's not visible, that I can see. Using "Wallace Stegner Path" (had to include the quotes to get this on first page, found a Los Altos Hills newsletter that said it went from 3 Forks lane to Edgerton rd. Then using satellite view, I was able to find a path along Edgerton going the right direction and back trace it to 3 Forks Lane. At the place I guessed was the entrance, I used street view, and there it was -- a big sign that said Wallace Stegner Path. (Apparently the sign is quite new, according to my reading, so I was slightly surprised to find it on street view)

  7. 13573 3 Forks Lane, Los Altos Hills, California, United States

    This took about 30 minutes. I ended up finding an article on which had mentioned 3 Forks Lane.

    The key was to search Stegner or Stegner Pathway. I then got on Google street view and found the sign at the entrance to the path.

  8. I found it via Wikipedia>SF Gate>Google Maps

    Location is 37.376367,-122.16113

    Time was about thirty mins.

  9. I searched for 'Wallace Stegner Trail', and a few links down the page was a reference to a Wallace Stegner Bench, which seemed like a landmark, and indeed marks the trail head, describes it and its intersection with another trail a short distance from parking.

    Searching for the bench gives me GPS coordinates to the trail head, here:
    Latitude 37°17'24.80"N
    Longitude 122° 9'15.36"W

  10. Well I found the other one... .

    13573 3 Forks Lane, Los Altos Hills, California, United States

    Googled Wallace Stegner... In the Wikipedia article it mentions a path.. from that article I googled "Stegner's Los Altos Hills home"

    From the search I found an article about the home being demolished

    In it it mentions the path starting on Three Forks Lane.. Quick Google Map search of Three Forks Lane, Palo Alto and then street view..

    The path is a few clicks down the road.

  11. 13573 3 Forks Lane, Los Altos Hills, California, United States Address is approximate (says google maps)
    lat long: 37.376536,-122.161298
    this link:,+Los+Altos+Hills,+CA+94022&daddr=37.376536,-122.161298&hl=en&ll=37.376458,-122.160976&spn=0.002493,0.002344&sll=37.376418,-122.161267&sspn=0.000881,0.001172&geocode=CXl5WeLv4A3-FcNROgIdgfa3-ClZhaU9F7CPgDEBBRRom_krfg%3B&vpsrc=6&mra=mift&mrsp=1&sz=20&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=37.376455,-122.161095&panoid=yZrtNcjhX3f93ghXPlAdXg&cbp=12,128.06,,0,24.3

    just 4/5 minutes: google stegner -> his wiki -> citation 17 -> begining of article gives town end of article gives approximate location (road) -> google maps satellite view and the path was easily visible

  12. 37.365826,-122.118003


    I first searched Wikipedia for Wallace Stegner (being french, he is not part of my culture). It said he leaved in Los Altos Hills.

    Then I searched Google for [Wallace Stegner, Los Altos Hills]. The 4th link pointed to an article in The Los Altos Patch, a local newspaper. In this article I found this : "Earnest served on the Los Altos Hills Pathways Committee and had in recent years proposed naming the path fringing Stegner's property the Wallace Stegner Path. That path, that was built in the late 1980s when a nearby subdivision went in, starts on Three Forks Lane alongside Matadero Creek near the Stegner property."

    A little Google Maps Street View on 3 Forks Lane lead me to the place. Is the car yours ?

    Thanks for those searching tips and challenges.


  13. And it took me less than 10 minutes.

  14. I found the first step at with a few stabs at Google ("Wallace Stegner named trail" did it, although most of the hits were to this post in one form or another) and some Google Map work from there provided the answer. Took less than 10 minutes.

  15. I think your talking about the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve? With a trail head at approx 37.282221, -122.149716 (from
    and also I suppose you can park at this other trail head too, at approx 37.29031, -122.15418 (from There's suppose to be a Wallace Stegner Memorial Bench at approx 37.278857, -122.160696, according to

  16. North entrance is at 37.376397, -122.161074
    Sign says Wallace "Stegner Pathway"
    South entrance is at 37.370821, -122.162820
    Sign just says "Path"
    Looked on Wikipedia...mentions the path and the footnote takes you to an article that says that it starts on Three Forks Lane. Using street view found the north entrance and then with satellite view followed it to the other entrance on Matadero Creek Ct.
    Took about 10 minutes.

  17. 13573 3 Forks Lane, Los Altos Hills, California.
    I found it in about 10 minutes. I googled Wallace Stegner, which resulted in a wikipedia article which had a reference to a newspaper article that had the name of the road with the trail entrance.

  18. Ah, I love these challenges :)

    It's at 13468 Three Forks Lane. Starts a little to the left on the other side of the road from that house.

    Long 37.376456
    Lat -122.160975

    I searched Wallace Stegner trail on Google and looked at the wikipedia page of him. They write that Los Altos wanted to name a path after him, but he said no. The quotations points to an article in the San Fransisco Chronicles called "Wallace Stegner's studio destined for demolition".

    At the end of the article they mention that the town named a path after him, and where it starts and ends:

    "While Stegner was alive, the town path that he didn't want named after him got put in anyway, without a name. It starts on Three Forks Lane where the narrow path alongside Matadero Creek near the Stegner property. Mary Stegner once told Les Earnest that her husband came to enjoy walking on it.

    So a year ago, Earnest finally got done what the writer wouldn't allow. He got that trail named the Wallace Stegner Pathway, marked by wooden signs at both ends."

    So I search google maps for Three forks Lane and went to street view, and there it was, a nice wooden sign, saying Wallace Stregner Pathway :)

    Took me about 5 minutes to hone in on it.

  19. Oh my, my last answer was totally wrong... Here's what I believe is the correct answer:

    Wikipedia Wallace Stegner, leads to a reference to SFgate article that mentions a path named after him, which starts on Three Forks Lane, which is approximately at (37.376460, -122.161019). Searching around some more, there's another community newsletter ( which mentions that the trail ends at/on Edgerton Rd, google street view indicates that it ends approx at (37.369585, -122.158196)

    Hope that's the right path you were interested in?

  20. Woops... looks like I followed the wrong path on satellite view.
    South trailhead is at 37.36961, -122.15821

  21. 8 minutes - answer - 37° 16' 43.20" N 122° 9' 37.80" W

    Bonus: even found picture of the overlook from the bench -

    search: "wallace stegner" path
    used link to

  22. Within 4 minutes with Google, by searching for
    Wallace Stegner path trail I found

    "That path, that was built in the late 1980s when a nearby subdivision went in, starts on Three Forks Lane alongside Matadero Creek near the Stegner property. Although Wallace Stegner fought it, Stegner's wife confided to Earnest that her husband later came to enjoy walking on it, he said. Although the path was named in the writer's honor in 2008, signs to mark it were put up only last summer, when a semi-formal dedication ceremony was held, Earnest said."

    3 Forks Lane is short, and the path is visible in Google Maps. Street View confirmed the Wallace Stegner Pathway sign at 37.376398, -122.161027

    It is hard to follow the path under the trees from Google Maps, but I think it leads to 37.373199, -122.159963

    Total time, about 14 minutes (mainly scrolling around on Google Maps)

  23. Looking at the other solutions, I see that 37.36961, -122.15821 by Chris Wheelwright is correct for the other end of the path. I probably followed the path incorrectly through the trees.

  24. 13573 3 Forks Ln (approx.) I did a Google search for Wallace Stegner Trail Los Altos Hills CA and found a PDF about the approval of the trail between 3 Forks Rd. and Edgarton. I then searched those streets on Google Maps and roamed on Street View until I found the trailhead.

  25. Hey! You guys did a great job!

    As you know now, the trail is in Los Altos Hills. The bench that many of you found is technically in the city of La Honda (although that's a little hard to figure out)... and in any case, the bench isn't on the Wallace Stegner Trail.

    Check out my answer in the post for 12/15/11 and see how I found it.

    Way to go!