Area: San Franciso Peninsula
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation gain: 1,800ft (1,800 - 2,400ft elevation)
Explore the rare and unusual geological curiosity that is tafoni, found on this heavily wooded trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains, parallel with the city of Palo Alto.
Named for an Italian geologist, the tafoni at El Corte Madera Creek is comprised of eroded standstone and illustrates some of the most spectacular patterns of its type. Deep, rounded, cavernous voids in the rock have been created by exposure to the elements. More information about how these are formed is shown here.
The preserve offers many trails to explore. Folk curious to visit the tafoni alone may choose an out-and-back three mile route along Tafoni Trail. Our recommendation for a longer trail, and the one included in our trail route, continues to the end of the Tafoni Trail and returns along Fir Trail to make a complete loop.
The Skeggs Point parking lot for this trail is located on CA Rte 35 (Skyline Boulevard) around 8½ miles South of the junction with CA Rte 92 to Half Moon Bay. If approaching from the north, there is no left turn into the parking lot and you'll have to continue on and make a U-turn and double back. The trailhead is just north of the parking lot.
- Trailspotting Images: Tafoni Trail, El Corte Madera Preserve on Flickr
- El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve
- Wikipedia: Tafoni