Matadero Creek was once the home of California writer and naturalist Wallace Stegner, up in the Los Altos Hills near the source of the stream. Stegner was a Stanford professor who in 1962 co-founded the Committee for Green Foothills, an organization instrumental in preserving and protecting the diverse and beautiful natural landscapes of the San Francisco Peninsula. Two years prior, his “Wilderness Letter,” a treatise on the state of the natural areas of the region, helped pass the Wilderness Act under Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
While grey foxes can be seen up in the mountains at times along the creek—and within the creek, several varieties of steelhead and other salmonid, as well as Pacific tree frogs—humans will also be a common sight alongside it. The Matadero Creek Trail is a pedestrian-and-bike-only 1.5 mile footpath winds its way through the rolling Santa Clara hills. The trail makes for an excellent afternoon hike, or even as a way of walking to and from adjoining neighborhoods.