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Explore the West

Experience the North American West

Collage of western outdoor activities

The West is best experienced in person. Here is our resource guide to activities and events in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and around the region.

The Local West: Around the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Stanford to the Sea
    Each spring, the Center hosts its annual Stanford to the Sea hike. The 22-mile trek begins at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and winds through various San Mateo County parks before ending at San Gregorio State Beach. Each year, experts in water, land use, and local history join us to provide short information presentations along the way. 
  • Stanford Outdoor Education
    SOE provides students with the opportunity to explore the outdoors with group trips, get training in wilderness first aid and related skills, and lead outdoor trips across California. 
  • Stanford School of Earth, Energy, & Environmental Sciences Field Trips
    These field trips are a fantastic way to explore local California geology and geography. Most trips are open to undergraduate students from all backgrounds and majors. 
  • Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
    This greenbelt system offers myriad options for hikes across the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit their website for information about the District, trail maps, and further information for exploring the preserves. 
  • Weekly Walker Trail Guides
    Tom Davids, who joined the Center's Stanford to the Sea hike in 2016, has hiked every trail in the Bay Area over the past decades. He carefully catalogued each hike, first through a weekly newspaper column, and then through this website. Although a bit dated by Davids’ own admission, this web resource is perfect for anyone looking for short, long, steep, or flat hikes, and everything in between. 




  • U.S. National Scenic and Historic Trails
    The National Park Service maintains an impressive network of trails across the nation. David Kennedy, director emeritus of the Bill Lane Center, currently sits on the advisory council of one of these trails, the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. The PNT is in the process of being further developed and formalized, and Prof. Kennedy and the council are working to create a vision for the trail that includes the involvement of multiple stakeholders, from hikers to rural communities across the trail.