One way to enjoy the outdoors along the Santa Cruz Mountains on the San Francisco Peninsula is to head to Cañada Road, which runs between Redwood City and the town of Woodside. Some top sights are on this road, which runs parallel to Interstate Highway 280. You’ll find the Filoli estate and the Pulgas Water Temple and can go on a Sunday bike ride where the road is closed to motor vehicles.  

Cañada Road is about halfway between the region’s large cities, and usually warmer than San Francisco and cooler than San Jose. There’s usually a hint of fog hanging down from the Santa Cruz Mountains, and a canopy of redwood trees that moderate the temperature, even in the sunshine. 

From 280, get off at Edgewood Road and proceed to the biggest attraction, Filoli Historic House and Garden. This 654-acre site shares a similar history with many Woodside structures: It was built as a summer escape from San Francisco’s fog by a rich couple, Agnes and William Bourn, in 1917. 

It’s among the grandest of Woodside’s properties, and much like the English country estate it aspired to be. The three-story Georgian revival-style mansion has 56 rooms, and there are 16-acre formal flowering gardens, some set around pools and ponds, which change with the seasons. 

Filoli’s familiar brick façade was used in the opening shots in the 1980s TV show “Dynasty” and has appeared in numerous movies. But the home’s furnishings and gardens are the real stars.  

Summer Nights at Filoli continue on Thursdays through Sept. 21. (Courtesy Filoli) 

There’s much more acreage in the diverse estate, including woods where turkeys and deer graze. There’s a one-mile estate trail, natural lands featuring varied ecosystems in a small area, springs and creeks, cultivated grasslands and fields where animals graze and food is produced.   

In fall, special events in the Gentleman’s Orchard include tasting apples and sampling butters, honey and hard cider.  

Popular at Filoli during the summer are Thursday nights, when the estate is open from 5 to 8 p.m. for twilight walks, talks with horticulturists and food and drink are available for purchase. Or you can bring your own snacks or take advantage of 10 picnic tables near the parking lot. The last summer night event is Sept. 21; it’s a good idea to make a reservation.  

Pulgas Water Temple has classic architectural features. (Courtesy Larry Sokoloff)  

 Filoli — which got its name from the first letters of the words in William Bourn’s motto “Fight, Love, Live” — is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and worth visiting several times a year, since programs change with the seasons. Tickets are $34 general, $32 for seniors, $27 for teachers and military, $24 for ages 5 to 17 and free for children under 5.  Frequent visitors may want to purchase a $125 annual pass which covers multiple visits and offers discounts. Visit

The Pulgas Water Temple pays tribute to the Hetch Hetchy Project, which moved water from Yosemite to the Bay Area and took 24 years to build. (Courtesy Larry Sokoloff)

Near Filoli, with an address in Redwood City, is the Pulgas Water Temple, designed with classical Greek and Roman architectural features. Completed in 1938, It’s a monument to the massive project that brought water to San Mateo County’s Crystal Springs Reservoir via aqueduct from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite. You can wander around the grounds from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but since the parking lot is closed on weekends, access on Saturdays and Sundays is restricted to hikers, bikers and equestrians. For more information, visit Pulgas Water Temple (

A certain section of Cañada Road is closed to motor vehicles from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on most Sundays. (Courtesy Larry Sokoloff) 

On weekends this stretch of Cañada Road is home to Bicycle Sunday, which closes nearly four miles of the road to motorized vehicles from Filoli to north to Highway 92 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walkers, joggers, hikers and roller skaters are welcome. For more information about the year-round program (which is canceled on holiday weekends), visit