If you’ve read previous articles, you know I love getting outdoors, especially if I can share that time with family.
We know a lot of you do, too, so here are some of our favorite places to escape to nature for a hike, whether just for an afternoon or for an entire weekend. See you on the trails!
Castle Rock State Park
With 34 miles of trails, one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and some truly challenging rock climbing for adventurous types, Castle Rock State Park is for those truly dedicated to the outdoors.
Bikes are permitted on some trails, same with horses, but most of this rugged outdoor terrain is made for hikers. There are primitive campsites for people who want to stay overnight, amazing vistas, and enough trails to keep you busy for a dozen trips.
Sanborn Park and Ranch Lake
The expansive Sanborn Park is close to 4,000 acres, with a load of trails to go along with its impressive size. This park is dense with forest, making it a good match for serious hikers.
In addition to the lovely Ranch Lake, the park is also home to the first stretch of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which is a 500-mile long trail that circumnavigates the entire Bay region.
Wilder Ranch State Park
With an impressive 34 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and more, Wilder Ranch State Park has some of the nicest scenery in our immediate area and is perfect for hiking a single day or full weekend.
Trails wind through valleys and across terraces, the views and vistas are spectacular, and you can even visit historic gardens.
Los Gatos Creek Trail
This fantastic 10-mile trail is suitable not only for a hike with the family, but also good for cyclists, skaters, serious hikers, and others.
The Los Gatos Creek Trail extends from the Lexington Reservoir all the way into San Jose, providing extensive walking through some of the most breathtaking nature the region has to offer, yet without taking you too far from civilization.
The Fremont-Older Preserve
You’ll enjoy this 739-acre swath of natural land. The Fremont-Older Preserve is close to Stevens Creek County Park. With plenty of hiking trails, wide open meadows, hills to climb and much more, it’s an escape for the family not too far from urban sprawl.
You’ll even enjoy some limited access for cyclists and horse riders as well. Dogs on leashes are also welcome!
This well-known watery escape is not just the third largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, it also provides a good place for families to indulge in some outdoor exploration. Hiking trails wind around the reservoir and offer great views of Silicon Valley.
It’s also the centerpiece for the Lexington Reservoir County Park, where you’ll find rowing, fishing, and more.