Surrounded by breathtaking nature, the incorporated town of Portola Valley in San Mateo County is the ideal home for those who crave fresh air and beautiful scenery. Nestled on the foothills of the Peninsula Coastal Range, Portola Valley is picture-perfect and only less than 10 miles away from Palo Alto.
Portola Valley is a small community, with only about 4,500 residents living in town all year round. There are several ways to access Portola Valley, with I-280 N being the major thoroughfare that serves the area. From Portola Valley, it’s all scenic and winding routes of green and gold, taking one deeper into the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Renowned for its inherent natural beauty, Portola Valley is also recognized for its myriad outdoor recreation, outstanding schools, and heritage. Although it was incorporated in 1964, Portola Valley’s foundation dates back to least the late 18th to mid-19th century.
It was eventually named after Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish explorer. Portola was credited for leading the first group of European explorers in the San Francisco Peninsula. During the mid-19th century, Portola Valley was an agricultural community, with the land used mostly for cattle grazing.
Portola Valley School District, which serves the town, oversees three public schools (two located in Portola Valley and one in Woodside). Portola Valley is also home to two private schools. Stanford University in nearby Palo Alto is only a short drive away.
Surrounded by open spaces and nature preserves, Portola Valley is a perfect jump-off point for outdoor recreation. Mountain and hiking trails, sports and swimming facilities, and lakes are all accessible from the small town. It’s one of the best places to unwind in the region.
Homes for sale in Portola Valley, CA
Ranked as one of the wealthiest towns in the United States, Portola Valley’s real estate reflects this status. The housing market offers luxurious estates in sprawling lots to cozy and spacious single-family homes with gorgeous vistas of the Peninsula Coastal Range.
Portola Valley is divided into several neighborhoods. The Alpine/Uplands (Los Trancos) neighborhood feature secluded and rustic homes. The Ranch offers a countryside setting, home to about 205 single-family homes made with natural materials.
Brookside/Willowbrook has older homes and new construction, all located a short distance from the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. Smaller lots are prevalent in the area, making the neighborhood ideal for first-time home buyers. Central Portola Valley real estate is a collection of beautiful luxury homes, traditional estates, and ranch-style properties.
Ladera offers mid-century and ranch-style properties, set in a rolling landscape. Finally, Santa Maria/Russell (Woodside Highlands) features hillside abodes and a tight-knit community.
Attractions and activities in Portola Valley, CA
- Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
- La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve
- Thornewood Open Space Preserve
- Pearson-Arastradero Preserve – Operated by Palo Alto, the preserve protects the Arastradero Creek. Various animal species, such as deer, bobcats, and birds are found in the area. Outdoor recreation include horseback riding, hiking, and biking.
- Coal Mine Ridge
- Portola Valley Trails
- Searsville Lake
- Portolla Valley Town Center
- Felt Lake
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