Filoli Amenities

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The Clock Tower Shop at Filoli is located in the Carriage House under the beautiful clock tower, is filled with cheerful seasonal and Filoli–inspired merchandise, clothing, gifts and furniture throughout the year. A variety of pots, plants, garden décor and accessories can be found in the courtyard adjacent to the Shop. Friendly staff and volunteers in the Shop are happy to help you with your purchases. While you are shopping in the courtyard, be sure to visit our Garden Information Docents. These specially–trained volunteers can help you with cultivation questions about plants for your own garden and also answer questions about Filoli’s horticultural practices and plant collections.

Shop Hours

Tuesday – Sunday:
10:00 am–5:30 pm

Shop Contact

Phone (650) 364–8300,
ext. 505
Fax (650) 366–7836


Nestled in the woodland and native garden at Filoli, the beautiful conservatory–style Quail’s Nest Café offers a peaceful setting with memorable cuisine. The Café boasts a high–quality menu, complete with luncheon favorites and imaginative specialties, which will reward your palate. The menu will always surprise you with daily additions and a constant rotation of spectacular desserts. The Café also offers a full coffee and espresso bar to satisfy your coffee requests. They are pleased to serve you and your enjoyment is their top priority.

Dining Options for Groups

Groups of 15 – 20

For your convenience Quail’s Nest Café at Filoli boxed lunches are available to order. Prices start at $20.00 per boxed lunch. A 50% non–refundable deposit is due at booking. Final order and non–refundable payment is required 10 days prior to visit. For information on tour reservation and group lunch options please call Visitor Service at (650) 364–8300, ext. 509.

Groups of 21 and larger

Please contact Filoli Visitor Services about group rental options. Please email or phone (650) 364–8300, ext. 221

Café Hours

Tuesday – Sunday:
9:30 am–4:30 pm

Dining offered inside & outdoors.


(650) 364-8300, ext. 240
Group Lunch Info:

(650) 364–8300, ext. 509


Tours are guided by docents and cover one hour in the House and one hour in the Garden and are at a casual walking pace; a wheelchair accessible route is available. Tours are booked on a first–come, first–served basis daily, and leave from the Visitor and Education Center. Space is limited and groups are required to book tours in advance. Please call the Admissions Office at (650) 364–8300, ext. 509.

Two–hour House and Garden Tour
10:30 am or 1:00 pm
$10 per person

One–hour House Tour
10:30 am or 1:00 pm
$5 per person

One–hour Garden Tour
12:00 pm or 2:30 pm
(June 22, July 13, 27 and August 10, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm)
$5 per person

Custom Tours

Groups can purchase custom tours for up to 15 people. The fee is $75 plus group admission rate of $15 per person for adults, $10 per person for children. Tours can be topical and/or access non–public areas of the property such as the Nature Preserve, Gentlemen’s Orchard, and special areas in the house. To make reservations please contact Visitor Services by email to or by phone to (650) 364–8300, ext. 507.



Phone: (650) 364–8300,
extension 509
Fax: (650) 367–0724

For Large Groups

For group tours or group lunches of 15 or more, contact Reservations at (650) 364–8300, extension 508 or by email to

Picnic Tables

It is picnic season at Filoli! Take advantage of the picnic tables near the Visitor and Education Center by bringing a full basket of goodies to share with your friends and family.


The Sally MacBride Nature Center at Filoli is a nature education museum housed in a former barn and is accessible only on docent-led walks. The museum’s collection includes taxidermied specimens of many of the birds and mammals that live in the Filoli Nature Preserve. There is also a collection of mammal skulls, local rocks, a relief map of the fault zone and examples of items made and used by Native Americans.

Several existing buildings, including the old barn, were considered for the Center. At the time, the old barn was occupied and so a foaling barn was selected in 1987 and converted into a display building for the Nature Center and the nearby tack room became the Trail Committee Shop. Many individuals dedicated their time and resources to the creation of this interpretive museum. After work on the building was completed in 1988, a dedication ceremony was held and the building was dedicated as the “Sally MacBride Nature Center.”


Red’s Barn is a training facility located in the Filoli Nature Preserve near the Sally MacBride Nature Center. Red was one of Mrs. Roth’s favorite horses and this building was his home.

In 1991, the volunteer Filoli Trails Committee cleaned the interior of the building in preparation for its conversion to a training facility. Today, the facility has classroom space and storage areas for training material. Filoli uses Red’s Barn for the Native Plants/Native Ways education program for 4th grade students, the Saturday Explorer program as well as training programs for Filoli Volunteers.


The Filoli trail system is comprised of a network of more than five miles of trails. The trails are both historic Filoli dirt roads and trails that have been constructed by Filoli volunteers to provide access to the nature preserve. The trails are accessible only during Filoli docent-led hikes and activities. The typical hike takes about two hours and a has a maximum elevation gain of about 250 feet.

The oldest road on the property is the old Cañada Road, which was a major transportation route along the Peninsula before the Bourns acquired the Filoli property. The Bourns had the road relocated to its present right of way along the San Francisco Watershed land to the east of Filoli. Other roads were constructed by the Bourns to provide access to the reservoir, dormitories and other sites.

In the late 1980s, it was proposed that the trail system be expanded and off-road paths be built for greater access to the land for educational and interpretive purposes.


The Filoli Nature Preserve was created with the purchase of 528 acres of land from Mrs. Roth on December 30, 1977 and financed by a loan from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The Nature Education program was created six years later in 1983, its goals expressed by Sally MacBride:

“Our approach will be apolitical, but would seek to develop a sense of responsibility in regard to our stewardship of the earth, and to provide an example of non-destructive and educational land use.”

The first hikes began in July of 1984 and were offered on Mondays, Thursdays and occasional Saturdays. From the start, the program goals stressed appreciation of a scientific approach and accuracy of data, the ability to relate the flora and fauna of Filoli trails to the rest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, enjoyment for both docents and program guests and an attempt for slow, solid growth.

Today Filoli offers hikes and other activities conducted by more than 100 Nature Education docents who have completed a comprehensive training program covering native flora and fauna, the trail system, geology, local history and interpretive techniques.


Broadleaf Community
Generally, broadleaf trees are characteristic of climate zones where the weather is mild, frosts are few and snowfall is rare. These plants usually occur in moist areas and adjacent to redwood forests. More sunlight reaches the ground here than in a redwood forest, resulting in more undergrowth. Tree species of the broadleaf community at Filoli include:

  • Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia)
  • Valley Oak (Querucs lobata)
  • Tanbark Oak (Lithocarpus densiflorus)
  • California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)
  • Douglas Fir (Pseudosuga menziesii)
  • Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata)
  • Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)
  • Madrone (Arbutus menziesii)
  • California Buckeye (Aesculus californica)

Additional shrubs, vines, ferns and herbaceous plants, as well as animals, comprise the Broadleaf Community.

Redwood Community
At one time, redwood forests were widespread in the Northern Hemisphere. From approximately 35 species only three species of redwoods exist today, two of which can be found here on the Filoli property. These are:

  • Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
  • Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)

Additional understory plants, wildflowers and animals comprise the Redwood Community.

Riparian Community
A Riparian Community is defined as an area on or near the banks of small lakes, rivers and creeks. Tree species that are included in the Riparian Community at Filoli are:

  • Arroyo Willow (Salix lasiolepis)
  • Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)
  • White Alder (Alnus rhombifolia)
  • Bigfleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)

Smaller plants and animals also exist in the Riparian Community.

A Chapparal Community is a dense thicket of shrubs and dwarf trees. Also known as the Elfin Forest, most bushes range from 3 to 8 feet in height in dense growth virtually impenetrable to larger animals. Some of the plants in the Chapparal Community at Filoli include:

  • Scrub Oak (Quercus dumosa)
  • Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum)
  • Ceanothus (Ceonothus spp.)
  • Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.)
  • Chaparral Pea (Pickeringia Montana)
  • Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)

The Pond
The pond is a man-made reservoir formed by an earthen dam built by Mr. Bourn, backing up Spring Creek. During the winter and early spring when the stream flow is at its peak, excess water spills over into an artificial channel and flume where it rejoins the natural streambed of the creek below. The reservoir’s original purpose has been replaced by pipelines and water tanks. It now plays a vital role in providing water and habitat to a variety of animal and plant species.

For some animals the pond is primarily a place to drink since it is one of the few permanent sources of water on the estate. Blacktailed deer come to drink and sometimes to bed down in the cattails. For others, it is a place to hunt. Mountain lions, coyotes, garter snakes, raccoons and red-shou1dered hawks all know that abundant prey can be found there. The edge of the pond is always a good place to look for tracks.

The pond is also a productive nursery. It is the natal pond of a large population of California newts. They faithfully return to the body of water where they were spawned to mate and lay their eggs. Pacific Chorus Frogs and red-legged frogs fill the air with their mating calls during the rainy season. Their larvae provide food for garter snakes and other streamside carnivores. The stream course, with its boulders and deep shade, attracts the lungless salamanders such as the slender and arboreal salamanders. Mosquitoes, caddis flies, dragonflies and damselflies lay their eggs in the water. Their young lead a completely aquatic existence until metamorphosis and are a valuable food source for animals living in the pond. Water striders also live on the pond. Their oily feet do not break the surface tension of the water as they seem to skate over the surface.

Some animals inhabit the pond on a seasonal basis, such as the masses of ladybird beetles sometimes found clustered on the horsetail and other shrubs. A pair of mallard ducks are also regular visitors. In 1993, a pair of gray foxes raised a family of four kits in the area surrounding the pond. Black phoebes, jays and gray squirrels are year-round inhabitants as are banana slugs.

Cultivated Grasslands
From the edge of the field just west of the House, a line of trees marks the edge of the San Andreas Fault and, beyond that, the hills and patchwork of broadleaf evergreen forest, redwoods and chaparral. A depression exists in the southeast corner of this area; a sag pond typical of earthquake zones and rushes grow in this undrained depression. At the northeast border of the field lies a small hill, Dun Dag, where the Bourn family enjoyed picnics. The two principal Filoli fields are seeded in red oat hay each year. A farmer cultivates the ground and harvests the hay in the summer. Wildflower Rushes of this area include:

  • Wildflowers Rushes (Juncus spp.)
  • Sun Cup
  • Red-stem Filaree
  • Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Mustard, Wild Radish
  • Cutleaf Geranium
  • Romuleus

On Dun Dag trail, look for Mule Ears, Lupine, Owl Clover, Blue-eyed Grass, Indian Warrior, Buttercups, Hound’s Tongue and Trillium.