Category Archives: Santa Clara County Parks

Sanborn County Park. AKA that time we almost got lost in the woods.

We tried another new park to hike in this week!


This time we visited Sanborn County Park near Saratoga, it was kind of hilly and shaded by trees, and the weather was nice and sunny outside.

2016.02.08 Endomondo Data

You can download the park map here.

Our route took us from the Peterson Grove parking lot, through the nature trail to the San Andreas Trail. The San Andreas Trail splits into two, both of which are part of the San Andreas Trail, which rejoin again *sigh*. Zero signage.

Keep following the San Andreas Trail until you reach the junction with the Sanborn Trail, go left and follow this for 1.2 miles until you reach the Peterson Trail Junction. Go right, to stay on the Sanborn Trail following it back to the parking lot past the group campsites.

Sanborn County Park

The trails are unfortunately…. pretty poorly signposted, and multiple times the trail split in two with zero signs, to then rejoin into one again…… We didn’t actually get lost though, which may be more due to luck than anything else.

#skillz

I don’t think it was our favourite!

Waterfalls at Uvas Canyon

It was chilly this morning!

We decided to try out a new park that we hadn’t been to before, and browsed the Bay Area Hiker website for inspiration. We decided upon going to Uvas Canyon County Park, and based our hike on the one described here.

The described hike is a loop of 3.2 miles, but we decided to add a little extra to take in another waterfall, and a nice view across to the Diablo range in the east bay from Manzanita Point:

View from Manzanita Point

Parking in the main lot, take the road past the restrooms (featuring running water and SOAP!!!!!) up to the start of the waterfall loop trail. Take the left fork – Alec Canyon Trail, follow the steep trail up to the junction with Contour trail (0.5 miles), instead of going right, for an extra workout and view keep on Alec Canyon Trail up to the junction with the Triple Falls Trail (0.5 miles), taking in Manzanita Point on the way. The walk up to Triple Falls from this junction is 0.2 miles each way, or you can continue on Alec Canyon Trail 0.3 miles towards the Old Logging Camp. Or both 😉

Triple Falls
Triple Falls

We then returned to the junction with the Contour Trail, and followed this to the Basin Falls Trail (1.6 miles), past the Upper Falls and the site of the old Hot House, where all that remains is a sign and some twisty rusted pipes:

Old Hot House Pipes

Upper Falls
Upper Falls

Basin Falls is 0.1 miles each way from this junction.

Continue across the bridge (0.1 miles) towards the junction with Knobcone Trail (a steep there-and-back-again trail of 0.4 miles to Knobcone Point) and then continue onto the Waterfall Loop Road. There is another short 0.1 mile trail just off here to Black Rock Falls.

Black Rock Falls
Black Rock Falls

From here continue following the Waterfall Loop Road down to the parking lot.

2016.02.01 Endomondo Data

It was a really lovely hike, nice and shaded, so still would be great on a sunny warm day.

The Santa Clara County Park website for this park includes both a trail map, and a nature trail guide for the (mostly) wheelchair accessible Waterfall Loop.

Deceptively hilly hike at Calero County Park

This afternoon we took what we thought would be a less intense pleasant stroll at Calero County Park, after our long hike at Big Basin at the weekend.

2016.01.11 Endomondo Data

It wasn’t.

It’s not entirely evident by the data, but the trail ends up as a very up and down, up and down, then up and up and up. It is deceptive, because the inclines are hidden behind corners or over ridges, and you just suddenly realize you have to go up some more!

You can download the park map here.

We were going to follow the hike as described on BAhiker here, but cut it a bit shorter as it was quite sunny and warm, so on such exposed trails we got a bit toasty, and also because we were feeling tired….. I never claimed that I didn’t get lazy!

Parking by the main entrance, we took the Access Trail > right on Los Cerritos Trail > right on Los Cerritos Trail > left on Peña Trail > left on Peña Trail > right on Los Cerritos Trail > left on Access Trail

Calero Reservoir

The reservoir at first glance didn’t look too bad, but then as we looked closer, the water should up to that upper line! It has just been empty/low for so long that the plants and grasses have taken over!

Just a short hike due to not having a lot of time, but quite pleasant even if it was deceptively hilly!

p.s. I have a fitbit, as do a few of my friends, and today one of them challenged me to a goal day – where you need to meet your step goal (mine is set to 10,000). I met mine at 197%! #nailedit

#hikingmondays

For the next 6 weeks or so I have Mondays off, which is of course quite splendid.

What to do with this time? Grab a friend and get out hiking! As this friend is a fellow Brit, I couldn’t resist taking her to English Camp.

This was just a little short hike at Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

Currently there is a trail closure of Randol Trail, which makes planning a route a little more tricky – it either ends up just as a short one, or a bit longer than anticipated!

2015.01.04 Endomondo Data

You can find the full trail map here.

Starting at the Mockingbird Hill Lane Entrance, take the New Almaden Trail > left on Hacienda Trail > right on Capehorn Pass Trail > straight on Mine Hill Trail > straight on Mine Hill Trail > left on Castillero Trail > English Camp > left, back to Mine Hill Trail > continue on Mine Hill Trail back to Capehorn Pass Trail > right on Hacienda Trail > left on Virl O. Norton Trail > Mockingbird Hill Lane Entrance.

We saw one on these tiny little lizard things that I see quite often there:

Little lizard

We hope to go a little further next week!

Almaden Quicksilver County Park, with added Mine action.

Classes finished last week until the start of the spring semester, so I now have Mondays off!

Hurrah!

I celebrated by heading out for a hike with the Midweek Hikers Meetup group, for a hike posted as 7.7 miles and 1000ft elevation…..

Lies.

2015.12.21 Endomondo Data

Although, this was not entirely intentional. Seasonal trail closures are in effect in Almaden due to the wet and muddy conditions, and so the original route via Randol trail had to be changed.

Starting at the Mockingbird Hill Lane Entrance, we took Virl O. Norton Trail > Hacienda Trail > Capehorn Pass Trail > Mine Hill Trail > Mine Hill Trail > Mine Hill Trail > Mine Hill Trail > Mine Hill Trail > there and back again on the San Cristobal Mine Trail to have a look at the San Cristobal Mine shaft tunnel

San Cristobal Mine Tunnel

You can walk a short way into the tunnel, then it is blocked off for safety, but you can see a little way inside:

San Cristobal Mine Tunnel

We then continued back on Mine Hill Trail > Mine Hill Trail > Prospect #3 Trail > Prospect #3 Trail > New Almaden Trail > there and back again on the Buena Vista Trail to the Buena Vista Shaft > New Almaden Trail > New Almaden Trail back to Mockingbird Hill Lane.

Our usual spot for a view across to Mount Umunhum was somewhat obscured by the rainy weather!

Rainy Almaden Quicksilver County Park

Actually a good day for a hike! There was intermittent drizzle, but not fully raining.

Ed R. Levin County Park to Monument Peak

After a few weeks break due to visiting relatives and busy schedules it was good to get back to hiking.

We decided to push ourselves to a slightly longer and more intense hike, so headed to Ed R. Levin County Park and aimed up towards Monument Peak.

This meant an early start since we were aiming for a reasonably long hike, and knew that shade wouldn’t be something we’d get much of here. Most of the parks in the east bay are exposed, with very little in the way of tree cover, meaning that it is best to hike in this area either in the early morning or the California “winter”.
We set off early enough to allow for a Peet’s stop of course, and still arrived at the park gates a few minutes prior to opening at 8AM.

You can download a .pdf of the park map here.
We entered the park through the Downing Road entrance driving past Sandy Lake to the parking lot at the far end which has facilities (useful after the aforementioned coffee stop).

15.10.04 Endomondo data
Starting out heading north on Calera Creek Trail, passing the Hang Glider Landing Zone, we were in for a slow and steady climb turning left onto Agua Caliente Trail as we passed through 1000ft.
We were treated to fairly decent views of the bay although it was a little hazy in the distance.

IMG_5319

After around 2 hours, 2 deer, a cow and a snake later we reached the Monument Peak Road Junction. Here you really are treated to some great views looking both westward to the valley, and east to more rolling hills.

IMG_2685

East Bay HIlls
Having decided up front that we wouldn’t make the extra few miles over to Mission Peak we headed south and started making our way back towards the Sierra Trail Junction, but not before taking the short 0.4 mile trek to the Monument Peak at 2,594ft.

Monument Peak
A couple more deer and another cow later we picked up the Agua Caliente Trail which would take us almost all the way back to the parking lot, with some good views of the Hang Gliders hitting their LZ.

Deer

We returned to the parking lot via the Tularcitos Trail.

It was a great hike to get the blood pumping while ascending those hills, and we finished our hike before the temperature rose too much.

Almaden Quicksilver County Park: Mockingbird Hill Lane Entrance

This morning we went on a nice short hike, after a few weekends of not much excitement. The last couple of weekends were all about trying to reduce some of the clutter in our apartment, playing games and eating brunch! My outdoor activity has been limited to jogs along the cycle trail, and cycling up to and around the bay.

Anyway… this morning:

2015.08.29 Endomondo Data

About 3.7 miles of slightly hilly hiking, we started off fairly early to avoid the heat of the daytime. Endomondo claims that the weather was dreary (!), but I can assure you that while the day started off a little cloudy, it was a regular old sunny blue sky day later on!

Almaden Quicksilver County Park

The route we took started from the Mockingbird Hill Lane entrance, which is a great one, plentiful in parking, and having restrooms with running water! We followed Hacienda Trail – straight over to continue on Hacienda Trail – right on Capehorn Pass Trail – right on Randol Trail – continue on Randol Trail – right to continue on Randol Trail (past the Buena Vista Shaft) – right on to Buena Vista Trail – right on to New Almaden Trail – then straight over to continue on New Almaden Trail to return to the Mockingbird Hill Lane Entrance. (see below)

Trail Map

You can download the full map of the park here.

This route takes you past the remains of the Buena Vista Shaft:

Almaden Quicksilver County Park: Buena Vista Shaft

Originally, when it was an operational mine shaft, a big red building was on top of these foundations, which was visible all the way down into San Jose. These days of course all that remains are the stone foundations and a load of metal, and the shaft itself is blocked off with a metal grid:

Almaden Quicksilver County Park: Buena Vista Shaft

Now, the only dangers are from rocks and the metal screws embedded in the foundations, and the occasional bit of Poison Oak.