Choose from one of four routes: The Yellow, Blue, and Red Routes each highlight destinations in different parts of Palo Alto as well as bike bridges, off-road trails, and underpasses accessed via bike friendly streets. These routes are marked with navigation arrows in the colors of the route names. The Grand Tour is an 18.3 mile sampling parts of all three of the shorter routes, using map or online route guidance.
Which route should I pick?
Here’s a summary chart to help you decide. Find detailed route descriptions at the bottom of this page.
|Route||Where to?||What’s to see?||Treat Stops?|
|Yellow||Menlo Park, downtown Palo Alto||El Palo Alto (the city’s namesake redwood tree), see trains, decorate your bike!||3 Stops. Trail mix, fruit, smoothies.|
|Red||Los Altos, Bol Park, many parks||Meet Perry, the model for the donkey in the movie Shrek. Ride the off-road Bol Park trail and a “secret” bikeway to Los Altos and the Sweet Shop.||4 Stops. Frozen yogurt, trail mix, fruit.|
|Blue||Palo Alto Baylands||Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, Baylands EcoCenter experiences. Discover bike bridge and tunnel connectors across 101 to the bay trails.||3 Stops. Pastries, smoothies, water bottles, energy bars.|
|Grand Tour||All the above!||Everything!||As many as you can get to by 4PM.|
- Print your map or download an online map here, or
- Pick up your map at Fairmeadow School when you start.
|Yellow Route||On-line (external web site)|
|Red Route||On-line (external web site)|
|Blue Route||On-line (external web site)|
|Grand Tour||On-line (external web site)|
More about the Yellow, Red, and Blue Routes:
Yellow Route: Downtown Palo Alto, Menlo Park, El Camino Park, and California Ave. (9.2 miles / shortcut 6.8 miles)
The Route Story: This route takes you via the Bryant Street (also known as the Ellen Fletcher Bicycle Boulevard, first Bike Boulevard in the nation) to downtown parks. Stop at Heritage Park for a treat and decorate your bike! This is Palo Alto’s newest park, opened in 2006. Find swings and a train play structure. If you need a short-cut back, use the Homer Bike/Pedestrian Tunnel under the train tracks. Continue your journey north to a bridge over San Francisquito Creek to Burgess Park in Menlo Park to enjoy a blender bike smoothie! Return over a different bike bridge, next to Palo Alto’s namesake tree at El Palo Alto Park. Now you have crossed the city line twice. Well done! Enjoy the two-way bike path through El Camino Park. Walk your bike by the Palo Alto train station. Use the bike path along Caltrain to Churchill Avenue. Go through the Southgate neighborhood and notice Peers Park where little people can see trains zip by from the safety of a playground. Find your final treat stop at the fountain across from Mollie Stones near Cal Ave Caltrain station. Watch trains load passengers and bicycles and pull in and out of the station. Return via the Cal Ave. tunnel to Bryant and back to Fairmeadow School.
Blue Route: YMCA, Edgewood Plaza, and Baylands EcoCenter. (9.6 miles)
The Route Story: First, head to the Ross Road YMCA for a treat. Continue exploring the Ross Road Bike Boulevard to cross at Oregon Expressway and use Garland to access Middlefield and our city’s first protected two-way bike lane. Turn right to pass Greene Middle School (formerly Jordan). Take Newell and pass The Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, a free event displaying 10,000 hand-made blown glass pumpkins on the Palo Alto Arts Center lawn for sale to support local arts. Artists will offer live glass-blowing demonstrations every half hour. Continue to Channing to reach the second treat stop at Edgewood Plaza for delicious fresh pastry treats! Cross Embarcadero Road and continue on St. Francis Drive to the bike/ped bridge over US Highway 101. Follow arrows to the third treat stop at the Baylands EcoCenter, where Environmental Volunteers invite you to an open house with blender bike smoothies. Experience docent-guided interactive exhibits for people of all ages. Learn about the amazing diversity of species that thrives in our protected bay lands. Don’t miss the duck pond across the way! How many types of marsh birds can you identify?! Ride just 2/10ths of a mile further out on the bay trail to find Lucie Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center. Take in expansive views of the bay. Docents will help you use microscopes to see the smallest organisms that live in the waters and mud of our bay. Learn how these tiny creatures contribute to the bay’s rich ecosystem. Head back along the multi-use path next to East Bayshore with the wind at your back. Use the seasonal US Highway 101 undercrossing at Adobe Creek, then return to East Meadow Drive. Continue to Ramos Park and then to Mitchell Park on your way back to
Red Route: Robles Park, Los Altos, Barron Park, California Ave. (8.3 miles, shortcut 7.9 miles)
The Route Story: Bike west on Meadow from Fairmeadow School to Wilkie Way and take a secret pathway for a treat at quiet Robles Park and find picnic grounds, ball courts, and two children’s play areas. Then take the bike bridge across Adobe Creek to discover another secret passage off of Monroe Drive. This leads to Los Altos Avenue. Continue to the Sweet Shop for a sample of frozen yogurt. This quaint cottage shop also offers espresso drinks, baked goods, and lunch for sale. (Proceeds go to local schools.) Return to Palo Alto via a connecting bike path to Arastradero Road; cross at a signal near Gunn High School. Go west along Arastradero. Just before Miranda Avenue turn right onto Bol Park Bike path and watch for the Barron Park donkeys. Their handlers will be expecting guests from 2-4 PM. You are welcome to visit and be introduced to Perry, the model for the donkey in the movie Shrek. Learn a little history of the Bol family farm and how it became a beloved local park. Pedal on to the third treat stop in Bol Park. Continue on the path to Hanover Street and head north to College Terrace. (Notice the excellent view of Hoover Tower.) Turn right on Stanford Avenue, cross El Camino Real, and continue to the fountain near Cal Ave Caltrain station. Have a treat there then head back to Fairmeadow School via the California Avenue tunnel.
The Grand Tour! For more experienced riders. This route is not fully marked, so we recommend using Ride With GPS guidance. This 18.3 mile route covers most of the treat stops and a majority of the bike paths/routes/access points along the way. New this year is the bike/pedestrian bridge over US Highway 101 just south of University Ave and a back way to the Baylands. As treat stops close at 4 PM, we recommend that Grand Tour riders start no later than 2 PM. This route should be ridden in a clockwise direction – start by following the red route arrows from Fairmeadow School.