San Bruno

Portola Highlands

Portola Highlands is a small second neighborhood in San Bruno's western hills. Many Portola homes back up to protected open space. Only one road leads in and out of Portola Highlands, underscoring the neighborhoods's quiet and secluded setting. Portola Highlands homes are know for their spacious and bucolic setting but also for the neighborhood's residents' tendency to take care of their property. Homes and yards are neat and attractive. Also, many have sweeping, east-facing views.

Portola Highlands is a small, secluded neighborhood in San Bruno’s western hills. Access to this enclave of a little over 1,000 residents is via Sneath Lane, which then circles the exterior of the district, passing small, exclusively residential streets named after California counties.

Homes here are newer than most in San Bruno. Though the neighborhood has a handful of dwellings built in the 1940s and 50s, development of Portola Highlands didn’t begin in earnest until 1963. Growth came fast after that. Today, almost 70 percent of Portola Highlands homes were built between 1960 and 1969, a distinction that comes with a few perks; notably, the houses in this classic post-war suburban neighborhood are larger than those “down the hill.” Most have three or four bedrooms and upwards of 2,000 square feet of living space and have been selling for between $1.1 and $1.5 million with a recent median of $1.28 million.

  • $1.59M

    Median Sale Price

  • $1.64M

    Average Sale Price

Pricing data based on single-family homes

Portola Highlands on the Map

Schools & History


Portola Elementary School, which serves residents of Portola Highlands, is one of the most highly-regarded K-5 schools in San Bruno, with a Great Schools rating of 9 out of 10 and the highest Academic Performance Index (API) among district schools, 921. It has a student population of 299. After fifth grade, Portola students join their San Bruno cohort at Parkside Intermediate School, which has 516 students in grades 6 through 8, a Great Schools rating of 7 out of 10 and an API of 785, then finish at Capuchino High School (API 796) or Peninsula Alternative High School.


In 1769, when members of the Portola Expedition stood on Sweeney Ridge, looking eastward at San Francisco Bay, the land spreading out before them was unsullied and empty — and blocked by an immense body of water. It wasn’t until several decades later that the view from Sweeney Ridge became part of a massive land grant given to Jose Antonio Sanchez by Alta California Governor Jose Castro.

Flash forward several more decades and the eventual Portola Highlands becomes part of Richard George Sneath’s enormous dairy. Established in 1878, Sneath’s dairy eventually grew to more than 3,000 acres, reaching from El Camino Real all the way to Sweeney Ridge. The 1,500 acres west of Skyline Boulevard (now Portola Highlands, Pacific Heights and the location of the San Francisco County Jail) was known as “Jersey Dairy #2.”

The Sneath family eventually sold and rented out parcels to individual farmers and ranchers, then began selling to would-be home developers in the 1940s. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that portions of “Jersey Dairy #2” found their way into builders’ hands. Portola Highlands, one of the last of these, began development in the early 1960s. The neighborhood’s immediate growth led to the establishment of Portola Elementary School in 1964.

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