Offering modern conveniences plus a quiet, rural environment, Portola Valley preserves much of the valley’s original natural beauty.
1. Alpine/Uplands (Los Trancos)
2. Portola Valley Ranch
4. Central Portola Valley
6. Santa Maria/Russell
History and Setting:
The first Europeans to set foot in the area in 1769 were the town’s namesake – explorer Don Gaspar de Portola – and Father Junipero Serra, who together sought to claim the area for Spain. Portola Valley began as a logging town before attracting 19th-century settlers such as Andrew Hallidie, the inventor of the cable car, who purchased property here in 1883 and donated land to the town for a school and post office. Goals of incorporation in 1964 included preserving the area’s unspoiled natural landscape, promoting low-density housing, and finding a balance between necessary development and desirable rural peace and quiet. Wildlife sightings are an everyday occurrence here, and large lots often retain remnants of working orchards, ranch amenities, and lush blankets of native oaks and chaparral. Many hilly areas boast to-the-horizon views encompassing Mount Hamilton, Moffett Field, and Silicon Valley’s city lights.
Protected from wind and fog by the lushly forested Santa Cruz mountains to the west, Portola Valley’s climate is nearly perfect. Stanford University is nearby, and Highway 280 and Portola Road allow effortless access to the extensive business areas and upscale shopping opportunities in Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Some neighborhoods are surrounded by thousands of acres of protected open space, and all offer a close and sociable sense of community. Award-winning architecture and extensive green space distinguish Portola Valley Ranch, a renowned development established in the late 1970s. Part of the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District, the preserve at Windy Hill is anchored in Portola Valley and offers approximately 14 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails with magnificent views and abundant wildlife. Sure to appeal to horse lovers, Portola Pastures ranch has recently become involved in rescue efforts for foals and mares retired from pharmaceutical companies; the organization works with high-profile veterinarians to rehabilitate the animals, as well as fund-raising and recruiting sponsors so the horses can be donated to a wide range of non-profit organizations that use horses for physical and emotional therapy.
Schools: (click here for schools information)
Portola Valley’s highly regarded local schools include Ormondale Elementary, Corte Madera Middle and Woodside High. Ladera neighborhood residents enjoy access to the Las Lomitas School District and Menlo-Atherton High School.