Exploring Hidden Villa’s farm and wilderness area is always an exciting adventure. Look close and you’ll find an amazing variety of plants, animals, insects, natural objects, and human ingenuity. Take a step back to observe the intricate web of life and consider the countless ways in which we are connected to our environment and one another.
While our programs and property provide a rich variety of hands-on, experiential leaning, visitors should also be aware of how to stay safe and avoid potential hazards.
Visitors are responsible for knowing and obeying all rules and etiquette before visiting Hidden Villa. Visitors are also responsible for complying with all posted signs.
Program and Non-Program Visits
Learn about Hidden Villa by signing up for a public program and/or farm tour or explore our farm and wilderness area on your own by printing a copy of our
Visitor Guide and Trail Map or by picking up a copy from the Welcome Kiosk (located by the Main Parking Lot).
Before you visit, you can also download Hidden Villa's most popular trail loops and some new self-guided tours on the Easy2Hike mobile application for both iOS and Android devices. Make sure to go inside the app and download each of the routes you'd like to explore so that you can use them without needing an internet connection at Hidden Villa.
Individuals and Groups with Less than 10 People
We are happy to welcome individuals and small groups (less than 10 people) to visit Hidden Villa any time we are open to the public. From late August through mid-June, we are generally open to the public between 9:00 am until dusk, Tuesday through Sunday; we are closed on Mondays. For the safety and security of our Summer Campers, Hidden Villa is generally closed from mid-June through late August. Check the Hours box on the Visit Us page to see up to date information about our open and closed dates.
Casual visits during open hours do not require a reservation and guests can view farm animals, wander through the education garden, and explore our wilderness trails. If you would like to visit with our farm animals, explore our buildings, or experience our food, please see our various program options. Casual guests are asked to pay our $10 parking fee. If you are a regular visitor, consider purchasing a Hidden Villa Season Pass.
Group Visits with 10 or More People
Hiking groups with more than 10 participants need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks in advance.
Several picnic site options are available around the farm that can be reserved for your group. Get more information and book a site by e-mailing email@example.com.
Hidden Villa charges a parking fee of $10 per vehicle, Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 AM to dusk. Payment is cash, check or (when a gatekeeper is on duty) charge. If no gatekeeper is on duty when you arrive, please deposit cash payment in the green metal collection container by the entrance gatehouse. A Season Pass lets you visit us anytime we are open without having to pay the $10 daily parking fee. The Season Pass is good for a full year from date of issuance. All proceeds, including revenue from parking fees, support our farm and education programs! The parking fee is waived for rentals and preregistered participants in fee based programs.
Visitor Safety and Etiquette
GENERAL RULES & ETIQUETTE
Pack-Out Facility: Please pack out everything you bring to Hidden Villa. Our facility does not provide public trash receptacles and we encourage no-garbage meals and snacks.
Plants and Animals on the Farm: Please do not pick flowers, fruits, or vegetables. These items are grown for our programs and have intended uses. Our farm animals are on special diets and are fed at regular times; Please do not feed them. You can help care for our free-ranging chickens by refraining from chasing them and only handeling them with the guidance of a Hidden Villa Docent.
Wild Plants, Animals, and Natural Objects: All wildlife is protected-- please do not disturb any wild plants, animals, or even natural objects you may see. If you are fortunate enough to encounter wildlife during your visit, do not approach, startle, or feed it.
Closed Areas: Please comply with all posted signs that indicate an area is closed. Animal pens are closed to public visitation and should not be entered without a Hidden Villa guide. Trails segments are closed when unexpected hazards arise.
Buildings: Most buildings at Hidden Villa are closed to visitation apart from our programs and rental groups; if you would like to speak with a staff member, you may visit our offices in the Wolken Education Center, Hostel, or the Duveneck House.
Dogs: Dogs are welcome and must be attended and on leash at all times. They are not allowed on our wilderness trails or in areas with free ranging chickens. Never leave dogs inside parked cars or tied up and unattended.
Bicycles: Bicycles are welcome at Hidden Villa and may be ridden on the farm. Bicycles are not allowed on the wilderness trails. Helmets are required at all times. Please observe the 5-mph speed limit.
Equestrians: Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. Horses are welcome on the farm and on designated equestrian trails.
Fires: Fires are prohibited at Hidden Villa unless they are part of our program.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited at Hidden Villa.
Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited at Hidden Villa.
To Report an Incident: Please report any serious injury, safety hazard, or unsafe behavior to Hidden Villa staff.
Hidden Villa is generally very safe. However, you are entering an environment where there are some naturally occurring hazards. Reasonable caution and common sense should be utilized when venturing into any outdoor environment. It is your responsibility to exercise caution and to ensure your own safety while using trails.
- Hidden Villa is a working farm and wilderness area. Many of our activities are seasonal, weather dependent and variable. You may encounter uneven terrain, farm equipment and unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. We encourage you to explore but ask you to respect our farmers’ work, and our animals and crops by keeping a safe distance. Please remember that many fences are electrified for our animals’ protection. Whenever possible, but always before eating, clean your hands by washing and lathering vigorously for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. Wipes and sanitizers are not adequate protection. Children under 5, the elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with heart disease or compromised immune systems should exercise caution while visiting any farm.
- Travel in groups of two or more. Two or more people can assist each other in the event of an accident or emergency.
- Dress for the environment. Temperature extremes can be experienced and you should dress in layers. Dress appropriately for the location, time of year and planned activities.
- Drinking water is not available on our wilderness trails so you should bring your own. Two quarts per person per two hour hike is recommended.
- Apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water prior to and during your outdoor activities.
- Be aware that cellular telephone coverage is very sporadic.
- Conditions can vary depending on the time of year, storms which have occurred, and the impact of rain and other natural occurrences. Check the Visit Us page for up to date information on special farm and wilderness conditions.
While visiting Hidden Villa, there are certain hazards, such as those from wildlife and poison oak, or other natural or human-made hazards visitors may encounter. Some trails are rugged and steep and some lead to rugged and remote parts of a preserve. These risks are a natural part of Hidden Villa and visitors must be aware of and willing to accept these risks. Here are a few of the risks as well as additional resources shared by our friends at the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD):
- Poison oak grows on most preserves; learn to identify and avoid it in all seasons. Poison hemlock is another poisonous plant found throughout the Bay Area. Learn more
- Mountain Lions are large, powerful predators and play an important role in our ecosystem. Hidden Villa and most of undeveloped Santa Clara and San Mateo County are prime mountain lion habitat and we have an abundant supply of deer, their preferred prey. Learn more
- Ticks are active in this area and may carry diseases. Stay on designated trails, and check yourself frequently for ticks. If you are bitten by a tick, we recommend getting the tick tested for Lyme and other diseases. The Bay Area Lyme Foundation provides a handy form for documenting tick bites and providing information about testing ticks.
Visit the MROSD Wildlife Safety page for more information on what to do if you encounter a rattle snake, mountain lion, or coyote.
Questions? Try our FAQ page.
Wondering what to do at Hidden Villa? Check out our Things to Do page.