6.3 out of 10

Portola Valley Ranch

37.3666621990784 -122.207318643867
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Safe & Sound
  • Schools
Not great for
  • Childcare
  • Medical Facilities
  • Public Transport
  • Eating Out
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Country Lovers
  • Families with kids
  • LGBT+
  • Trendy & Stylish


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 1/5

"Pinot Noir and Turnabout Cul-de-Sacs"

Portola Valley Ranch is one of the neighborhoods on the far south western reaches of Portola Valley, which basically means that in a city which is already about as remote as it gets, this is one of the remotest areas of it. Put simply, if you want to live here, it is because you really, really want to get away from it all when you go home at night from work.

The homes in the Portola Valley Ranch neighborhood are not, for the most part, the large homes on extensive properties that characterize some of the other Portola Valley neighborhoods. These are more average sized homes. What makes the neighborhood distinct, however, are the turnabout cul-de-sacs; there are a bunch of them and they give a certain consistency to the neighborhood.

In fact, Portola Valley Ranch is a planned community run by a home-owners association that helps in the upkeep. They have a number of facilities that they share as part of living in this community, including a big event facility, swimming pools, tennis courts and even a working vineyard which produces a very competent Pinot Noir (one of my favorites).

There are also some great trails that wind around the valley.

Homes here run about $3 million for a 5600 ft. home with 6 bedrooms. Anywhere else that might be a bit on the high side, but given the astronomical prices you come across in other sections of Portola Valley, this sounds like par for the course.

Corte Madera School is also here. It handles grades 4 to 8 (which is a little weird since most middle schools only do grades 6 to 8 in California) and it is very highly rated with an API of 10 (the highest possible) and standardized test scores that routinely place their students near or over the 90% percentile. (Very amazing!)

So, if like living in community that is more than a little bit off the beaten track, you will probably love it here in the Portola Valley Ranch neighborhood.
  • Nice Homes
  • Great School
  • Secluded
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Far From Basic Needs
  • Upkeep Issues
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • LGBT+
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Schools 4/5

"So "richly" desolate"

Portola Valley Ranch is a small, affluent neighborhood huddled within the many foothills and national preserves of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is exclusively residential and unappealingly desolate. In fact, its total population is under 200. For the perspective resident, you must be an introvert. One who spends his or her time in total seclusion and blocks out the rest of the world. Yet, you might have to have deep pockets to afford such head-scratching-ly large (and camouflaged) ranch homes that are so rarely seen from the street.

As a whole, Portola Valley is situated in the vast rolling savannah grasslands, saturated with bushy trees and dirt paths/walking trails that follow long, winding country roads. As barren as it seems, the neighborhood does have some good characteristics. For one, homes are rather large/long and perched along the many brushy rolling hills. And in some respects, homes barely cling to the hill by old, wood support structures. For the perspective resident, these homes are somewhat pricey, mostly because the city as a whole is the 6th wealthiest all of California. Or maybe it has something to do with its serene hilltop vistas at their back porch. But whatever the case is, its still nowhere near civilization.

For young families, Corte Madera School anchors the western half of the community and serves grades 4-8. The middle school is well-regarded amongst the sparse population of Portola Valley Ranch and has garnered a 4-out-of-5 stars on greatschools.org. Others don’t usually have much else to look forward to in the area. For your commercial needs, you’re a long way from just the bare essentials. If you head down Alpine road, you’ll only come across a food market, deli and automotive center. Otherwise, you’re in for a 20-30 drive.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Country Lovers

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