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California Trails

New Bay Area Park Rich in Outlaw Legends

Members of Jesse James's gang allegedly once hid out in the La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve.

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The Bay Area’s newest park, La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve in San Mateo County, was once a haven for outlaws, according to local legend. “Common knowledge” has it that two members of Jesse and Frank James’s outlaw gang fled Missouri and hid out at Ray Ranch in the 1860s (which still exists in the preserve); another tale has it Jesse James himself faked his own murder and laid low in Dunsmuir.