Open space preserves are free to visit, open year-round, and offer great opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and family friendly activities. The preserves offer easy, moderate, and difficult hikes, so everyone can access and enjoy the outdoors. Come and discover your open spaces!
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The Aquila Loop Trail is open to hikers, cyclists and equestrians. This mellow hike is perfect for beginners and families with young children. Enjoy expansive views as you stroll through grasslands and rock outcroppings that once were part of the ocean floor. Stop at one of two benches along the way to take in views and relax and keep your eyes peeled for red-tailed hawks, bobcats and acorn woodpeckers.
The Boccardo Trail (2.7 miles) travels through annual grasslands and a short section of oak woodlands with views of Santa Clara Valley and Mt Hamilton (and on clear winter days San Francisco). Dominant vegetation in the surrounding view sheds includes chaparral, coast live oak woodlands and sycamore riparian habitats. Sierra Vista’s steepest trail is the western segment of the Boccardo, gaining 896 feet of elevation in 1.1 miles. The hike is moderate to strenuous and has very little shade.
Quick hike down to the Sierra Vista Trail.
Follow the Kestrel Trail to the Sierra Vista Trail for views of annual grasslands and coast live oak woodlands.
This is a challenging hike for the experienced and dedicated hiker—but a worthwhile one for the stunning views and sense of solitude to be found. Take the Kestrel Trail to the Sierra Vista Trail north-east, then south to the Lower Calaveras Fault Trail with its great views of Alum Rock Canyon and Alum Rock Park. Past the Historic Ranch House and Penitencia Creek, there is a rapid elevation gain along the Lower Calaveras Fault Trail, through gray pine habitat, and dramatic views of Alum Rock Canyon. The Vista Point offers panoramic views of southern Santa Clara County.
This moderate hike for more experienced hikers takes the Kestrel Trail to the Sierra Vista Trail north-east, then along the Upper Calaveras Fault Trail with its great views of Alum Rock Canyon, Alum Rock Park and, on a clear day, the Diablo Range. Hike through grasslands, chaparral, and mixed oak woodland habitats, then reconnect with the Sierra Vista Trail overlooking the canyon bottom several hundred feet below.
The 1-mile segment of the Bald Peaks Trail joins the Catamount Trail, allowing bicyclists as well as hikers and equestrians to complete a loop that returns to the preserve’s staging area.
This 1.7 mile trail has steep and moderate stretches as it rejoins the Longwall Canyon Trail. From that point it is possible to return to the staging area along the Mayfair Ranch Trail.
ADA accessible trail, perfect for beginning hikers and families with young children, the trail begins at the parking area. The trail meanders through a meadow teeming with wildlife such as wild turkeys and deer. Look up and you may see red-tail hawks, Western blue-birds, and acorn woodpeckers. Enjoy a picnic or watch the glistening creek at a wheelchair accessible picnic table.
Moderate consistent climb for the first 2.5 miles, steep decent old ranch road last .6 miles.
The Mayfair Ranch Trail starts at the parking area and gently climbs through Blue Oak woodlands, and grasslands to join the Longwall Canyon Taril. As you hike along the trail you'll gain 500 feet in elevation and take in sweeping vistas of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
From the Mayfair Ranch Trail, take the fork for Longwall Canyon/Bald Peaks Trail. This two-mile trail takes you to the summit with panoramic views of Almaden Valley, Diablo Range and surrounding ridges. Take a rest stop at a picnic table and then continue on the 1.0 mile Bald Peaks Trail to the 1.7 mile Catamount Trail with steep and moderate stretches as it rejoins the Longwall Canyon Trail. The hike continues with a 0.5 mile stretch on the Longwall Canyon Trail which crosses over into Calero Park and takes you back to the parking area.
Continue on the trail to a service road along a ridgeline. Among annual grasslands you see a short spur trail leading to a secluded picnic table. As you descend to the valley floor and reach the Heart’s Delight Trail, scan the meadow for sly coyotes and soaring raptors.
You begin on the Heart’s Delight Trail and travel along the base of a large hill studded with rare serpentine rock outcroppings. Switch to the Arrowhead Loop Trail and gently ascend to a scenic overlook with sweeping views of the Coyote Valley Region.
From the first scenic overlook, you climb 300 feet and survey a canopy of oaks. Cross over two sturdy, redwood bridges and pass by a bench. The second scenic outlook is at nearly 800 feet in elevation.
This trail drops down to cross a tributary of Coyote Creek before rising up through serpentine grasslands. As you climb, the trail follows a steep ravine passing through oak and manzanita, before bringing you back into the grasslands with views of Coyote Valley and Morgan Hill. The trail continues its rise, bringing you to the ridgetop.
Máyyan Wáayi, pronounced My-yahn Why-yee, is the Chochenyo translation for Coyote Valley. This gentle trail starts at the central gathering area, passes through an open meadow, and climbs to an overlook of Coyote Valley, nestled in a serpentine rock outcropping strewn with lichen-covered boulders. Rest at a shaded picnic area or bench with quiet views, listen for Western meadowlarks, or enjoy the wildflowers in the spring.
BUTTERFLY PASS REQUIRED. This challenging climb is worth the stunning views! Shortly past the main trailhead, take in views of Coyote Valley and San José. Look for shining green serpentine rock, essential for the area’s native wildflowers. After a freshwater spring, which supports rare Mount Hamilton thistle, the trail rises again, with an interpretive overlook and rest area after some of the steepest sections. You may see cow trails crossing the landscape, but don’t be fooled, these narrow paths are not for human travel.
Following this gentle trail across the ridgetop, take in stunning views of southern Santa Clara Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and an area known as Shingle Valley within the Diablo Range to the east. Keep an eye out for golden eagles and other raptors soaring over the mix of serpentine and California annual grasslands.