The Stanford Dish area is closed in the evenings, and the times vary depending on the time of year. Please refer to the Stanford website (dish.stanford.edu) for hours that the trail is open.
Family Friendly: The trail is paved and while a majority of it is uphill, it's not too bad.
Ranch Road starts at the gate into the Stanford Dish area. Once through the gate, the trail gently curves around through a shaded area until the trail begins to climb. The trail climbs a small hill and the Stanford Dish comes into view at the top of the trail. It levels out for a while as it passes a cattle guard, used to keep the cattle that graze in the area from escaping. From here, the trail climbs gently toward the Dish.
Take the opportunity to turn around and take in the view of the surrounding hills and the interstate as it makes its way north. Leveling out, the trail approaches the Stanford Dish and a maintenance building. The Dish is used for research, so you may get lucky and witness them repositioning the Dish as you hike by.
From here, the trail wraps around the Dish and makes a sharp left as it approaches the next cattle guard and the Stanford Dish Loop
Trail. Views of the Stanford campus and the South Bay area lay before you, a reward for all the climbing that the trail has done.
There are all types of animals that call the Stanford Dish area home. Deer, coyotes, snakes, frogs, tarantulas, squirrels, and various species of hawks can be seen while continuing along the trail or on the trail itself.
Stanford leases the land around the Dish to area farmers, so cattle may be grazing in the area as well, sometimes using the trail to get from one area to another. If you move around them and don't bother them, you'll be fine.