Look for Banana Slugs at Sam McDonald County Park

Loma Mar, Ca – Sam McDonald County Park is a gem located just an hour Southwest of the Silicon Valley. The park is split into two habitats: grassy hills and shrubbery to the Northwest and redwood stands to the Southwest.

Species to Look Out For

Coast Redwood circle.png

Coast Redwood

About the Park

Loma Mar, Ca – San Mateo County Park

Science Spotlight: Banana Slugs

When the forest floor is damp at Sam McDonald County Park, it’s common to encounter large, yellow slugs. These slimy sights are banana slugs – one of the largest species of terrestrial mollusks.

Banana slugs can grow up to the incredible length of 10 inches, and live up to 7 years. They are found in forests along the West coast of North America from Alaska to California.

Although it’s tempting, if you find a banana slug along your journey, be sure not to pick it up! Contact with our skin can dry them out. Check out these cute critters with just your eyes, and watch your step for others as you continue on the trail.

Sam McDonald 3
A banana slug enjoying the damp forest floor at Sam McDonald County Park.

Park History

Born the descendant of slaves in Louisiana, Sam McDonald settled down in Palo Alto, CA in 1903. While in California, he began what would become a long career with Stanford University as the superintendent of athletic grounds and buildings. He was well-loved by the Stanford community throughout his lifetime.

McDonald acquired the park and a small property on the grounds in 1917. After his death, he granted the land to Stanford, requesting that the park be used to enrich the lives of young people. San Mateo County acquired the land in 1958. It remains named in Sam’s honor, with a total of 867 acres of land.

Visit the Park

Please note that there is a parking fee. Dogs are not allowed.

Our love for trees brought us to the Heritage Grove Trail to Hiker’s Hut. However; regardless of the trail that you take or its length, you are guaranteed to get beautiful views of the Coastal Redwoods and the animal communities that live there.

Here are some helpful resources to help plan your visit:


Author: Taylor Crisologo

Taylor studied biology at Cornell University, where she worked with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on projects ranging from breeding herring gulls off the coast of Maine to dancing lyrebirds in Australia’s Blue Mountains. When she’s not researching great places to experience Bay Area nature, you can find her birding or reading a book at home with her husband and their two indoor cats (Max and Penelope).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: