Foothills Park is only open to Palo Alto residents and their accompanied guests, and City of Palo Alto employees.
Proof of residency must be produced upon entry and when requested by an official in the park. A government-issued photo ID is required along with acceptable proof of residential address. A California driver license is ideal as it confirms both identity and address. Commercial addresses and addresses outside of Palo Alto city limits are not acceptable, including East Palo Alto, Stanford, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.
The residency requirement dates back to the sale of the land to the City of Palo Alto in 1959 by Doctor Russel Lee, founder of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, with a condition that it be preserved as open space. When Palo Alto’s proposal that the neighboring communities of Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills contribute towards the purchase was rejected, they imposed a residents-only policy when the park was opened in 1965.
In one exception to the rule, non-Palo Alto residents may hike into Foothills Park from Pearson Arastradero Preserve or Los Trancos Open Space Preserve as part of the Bay to Ridge Trail.