Handley Rock

The local nonprofit Handley Rock Association owns Handley Rock in the San Francisco Bay area, and the Access Fund holds a conservation easement to help keep it open to public, passive recreation for generations to come. Handley Rock features both roped climbing and bouldering on all aspects of the sandstone formation.

Since the 1970s, Handley Rock has been used by the public for rock climbing as well as picnicking, sightseeing, and bike riding. The Handley Rock Property was originally purchased by William and Beverly Oldfield in 1974 to prevent suburban encroachment and preserve the area as public open space. Due to growing liability concerns, the Oldfields looked to donate the property to a public or nonprofit entity. The property was designated as a future park site by San Mateo County and the Emerald Hills Plan, yet the County did not accept various offers to acquire the park. The Peninsula Open Space Trust assisted, but the property was too small for their ownership.

William Oldfield reached out to Access Fund founders at the American Alpine Club and temporarily donated the property to the Access Fund Land Foundation (AFLF) in 1990. In 1992, the property was transferred to the newly formed 501(c)(3) Nonprofit California Corporation, Handley Rock Association, to hold the property for public, passive recreation. The perpetual conservation and recreational easement was recorded and granted to AFLF to serve as backup protection.

In 2010, the conservation easement was transferred to (and is still held by) the Access Fund, upon dissolution of the Access Fund Land Foundation.

The half acre Handley Rock property overlooks San Francisco Bay amidst the suburban area of Emerald Lake Hills in San Mateo County, California.

Driving directions: Take 280 to the Edgewood Rd. east. Turn right on Cordilleras. Turn right on Lakeview. Turn right on Sylvan. Turn left on Handley Trail Rd. From there you will see the rock.


Rules & Restrictions:
  • This easement limits groups to 8 climbers in the park at a time
  • Please keep noise to a minimum and respect adjacent residential neighbors
  • No fires or smoking
  • Access allowed from dawn to dusk; no camping
  • No alcohol, bottles, or littering