Conditions & Guidelines


updated July 10, 2024

  • Sierra Vista open space preserve

    • Aquila Loop Trail Visitors must travel Aquila Trail counterclockwise
    • Boccardo Loop Trail
    • Kestrel Trail
    • Kestrel - Sierra Vista Trail
    • Kestrel - Sierra Vista - Boccardo Loop - Sierra Vista - Kestrel Trail
    • Kestrel - Sierra Vista - Bridge - Upper Calaveras Fault - Lower Calaveras Fault Trail Lower Calaveras Fault Trail is closed due to unsafe conditions until further notice
    • Sierra Vista- Segment 1 Trail
    • Sierra Vista- Segment 2 Trail
    • Sierra Vista- Segment 3 Trail
    • Upper Calaveras Fault Trail
  • Rancho Cañada del Oro open space preserve

  • Coyote Valley open space preserve

    July 2024 - Bikes must travel counterclockwise
  • Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge open space preserve

    • Bay Checkerspot Trail Trail Butterfly Pass required! Closed Mon/Tues.
    • Máyyan Wáayi (Coyote Valley) Overlook Trail Trail
    • Serpentine Spring Trail Trail Butterfly Pass required! Closed Mon/Tues.
    • Tule Elk Trail Trail Butterfly Pass required! Closed Mon/Tues.

Open space preserves are open to the public for your enjoyment. We strongly encourage you to come prepared for the outdoors.

  • Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are only allowed on designated trails. Please stay on the trails to protect the preserves and the plants and wildlife that live there.
  • Pets are not allowed. For their health and safety, please leave them at home and never leave pets in the car while you hike, regardless of weather conditions.
  • Fires, fireworks, and smoking are prohibited.
  • Do not feed, disturb, touch, chase, or remove wildlife.
  • Do not remove or vandalize preserve facilities, including signs.
  • Hunting, fishing, and trapping are not allowed.
  • Possession or use of firearms, pellet guns, paintball guns, bows, or slingshots is prohibited.
  • Unmanned aerial systems/drones are not allowed.
  • Be considerate to other preserve visitors and share the trail.
  • Please leave no trace and pack out your trash.
  • Check trail Current Trail Conditions above to check for closures or advisories
  • Please leave pets at home, as they are not allowed on open space preserves.
  • Avoid leaving valuables in your car and consider leaving them at home or taking them on the trail for safekeeping.
  • Pack properly. See our suggested Packing List below under "Preparing for Your Hike"
  • Coyote Valley and Rancho Cañada del Oro have restrooms available on site. There are NO restrooms at Sierra Vista.
  • Drinking water is not available at the preserves; please bring extra water for yourself.
  • Information kiosks are located at every preserve.
  • Printed maps are not currently available at preserves. Please download a map from our website before you go or take a picture of the map at the kiosk before you go on the trails.
  • There are no trash cans at the preserves. Please bring a suitable trash bag to collect waste and take with you when you leave. We thank you for not leaving any trash or food items on the trails, which can be harmful to wildlife and the environment.

Everyone in our community deserves equitable access to nature, regardless of age or physical mobility. Providing equitable access to nature is important to us, and we want all visitors to have enjoyable experiences at our open spaces. Please visit our resources to find a nature adventure that works for you!

  • To reserve accessible parking, call us at (408) 224-7476 during our office hours, Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., before hitting the trail.
  • The Llagas Creek Loop is an accessible trail at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, which also offers both accessible bathrooms and parking.
  • Some of the best paved trails in Santa Clara County can be found here.
  • Learn more about our public access projects to expand accessibility, like the one at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve.
  • Check back in the future for more accessibility resources. We are working to provide you with all the information you need before heading out to our preserves. Please email our ADA Coordinator at, if you have any questions, concerns, or specific accessibility resource requests.
  • One-way directions are in place on multiple trails. Please check the conditions above for updates or download a georeferenced trail map here.
  • Please keep your distance from wildlife.
  • Keep a safe distance from others as you walk, bike, or hike. Alert other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance, and step off trails to allow others to pass. Signal your presence with your voice, bell, or horn.
  • Remember that horses always have the right of way on the road and on the trail. Always give horses plenty of warning and space - especially if you are approaching from behind. Horses cannot see directly behind them and may spook or kick when startled. If in doubt, slow down or stop, then ask the rider if it's safe to pass.

If you want to beat the crowds, try visiting the preserves at these times:

  • Rancho Cañada del Oro - Try a weekend or weekday, any time. Main parking lot fills early – find parking in the preserve’s overflow lot.
  • Coyote Valley - Try a weekday, any time. Weekends are busy all day.
  • Sierra Vista - Try a weekday, any time. Weekends are busy all day
  • Tell friends and family where you are going and when you will return as cell coverage can be limited in preserves.
  • Dress for all weather – bring layers and wear sturdy, closed-toe hiking shoes or boots.


  • Extra water - drinking water is not available in the preserves
  • Lunch or snacks, especially if hiking with children
  • A wide-brimmed hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Small backpack for extra clothes or equipment


  • Give the trails a day or two to dry out after a storm before you head out. 
  • Check the Current Trail Conditions above for weather-related closures.
  • Wear sturdy boots that can stand moisture and mud, and dress in layers, as weather on the preserves can change quickly.
  • Be especially careful to stay on trails to avoid damaging sensitive vegetation.
  • Consider alternatives to outdoor activities on especially stormy days.
  • Read more on our Wet Weather & Winter Outdoor Tips page.

Red flag warnings and fire activity may impact trails or preserves as conditions change. Please check the Current Trail Conditions above prior to visiting an open space preserve, and keep yourself safe to ensure emergency services are available for fires.

  • Consider alternatives to outdoor activities during extreme heat and fire danger.
  • Avoid activities that cause heat-related illnesses. Fire department staff responding to medical emergencies are not available to respond to fire.
  • Do not overexert yourself while outdoors. Stay hydrated and sheltered from heat.
  • Read more on our Summer Safety page.

As you explore open space lands, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings as there can be plants and animals that can cause illness or injury. Here are some common plants and wildlife that you should avoid:


Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) causes an allergic reaction in many people that produces an irritating rash. Poison oak is a shrubby or climbing plant with three-part leaves that are toothed or lobed. The plant tends to be green in spring and red in late summer and fall. Because it regrows from rootstock, the plant easily recurs after disturbances and is difficult to totally remove from a landscape. Sticks without leaves can also spread poison oak oils. The best way to avoid this nuisance is by learning to recognize the plant, avoiding contact with it, and washing skin, clothing, and gear after exposure.


Ticks (Ixodes ricinus) are small invertebrates, scientifically classified as Arachnida, the classification that includes spiders. There are several types of tick-borne illnesses that can be transmitted by tick bites.

There are several things you can do to reduce your likelihood of being bitten. First, make ticks more visible, and reduce their access to skin by wearing ligh-colored clothes, long sleeves and long pants, and tucking your pant legs into your socks. Also, avoid contact with places where ticks are likely to be, such as sitting on logs or lounging under trees.

Always do a self-check after being in areas where ticks may be found.


The northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis oreganos) lives in much of northern California and has been spotted on most Authority lands. This snake is venomous and a bite can be dangerous. While the snake will strike if threatened or attacked, generally it will retreat if left alone.

A rattlesnake has a thick body and a triangular-shaped head, which is much wider where it joins its distinct neck. This snake often has a series of dark and light bands near its tail, just before the rattles. Not all specimens have rattles, as they can easily break off.


Mountain Lions (Puma concolor) are very common throughout Northern California. For everyone's safety, it’s important to minimize the chance of mountain lion encounters. Since research has found that single hikers are three times more likely to encounter a mountain lion, hike with a friend or in a group.

If you do see a mountain lion, stay back. Maintain eye contact—they perceive this as threatening. Try to appear large by raising your arms or holding your jacket open. Speak in a loud, firm voice. Don’t run, crouch, or bend over. If the mountain lion approaches, fight back. People have effectively defended themselves and others with sticks, rocks, or whatever they could grab.