Santa Clara County Parks – Silicon Valley Area Parks
Here, please find links and a little info on the wonderful county parks in and near Silicon Valley.
Wildlife caution – A word to the wise: in the grassy, hilly areas especially, please hike or jog with friends and pay attention as you walk or run the trails. Rattlesnakes tend to sun themselves in the clearings – which means on the path! Mountain lions, also known as pumas, are not commonly seen but they are indigenous to the area, as are ferrel pigs, bobcats and coyotes. Any of these could ruin your day with a wrong encounter, so please go in groups and pay attention to your surroundings!
Almaden Quicksilver this was once the largest mercury mine in the world, named after a similar mine in Spain. The mine shafts extended all the way into what is now Los Gatos (off Hicks Road) This is a great spot for field trips. While in that area, don’t miss the split graveyard on Bertram Road- and look the grave for just Bert’s arm (nope, I’m not kidding).
Alviso Marina they stopped dredging this years ago but it is now a park. Eventually there will be a trail ringing the bay. Awesome place to bird watch and take photos.
Anderson Lake waterskiing destination in the east foothills over Morgan Hill
Calero south of Almaden toward Morgan Hill.
Chesbro Reservoir west of Morgan Hill – fishing & non-power-boating. No trails yet.
Chitactac Adams Heritage County Park now this is cool – it’s a 4 acre site just outside Gilroy and Morgan Hill which is all about the Ohlones who used to inhabit this beautiful valley of ours. Free park. Open from 8am til sunset. Self-guided tours available.
Coyote Creek Parkway 18 mile parkway along lovely Coyote Creek, south of San Jose and north of Morgan Hill.
Coyote Lake outside of Gilroy in the east foothills, “The 4595-acre park, which features a 635-acre lake, provides camping and boat launch facilities nestled in the Mount Hamilton Range.” Ranger station also has displays on native wildlife and Ohlone Ways.
Hellyer This park includes a public 9 hole course in a 205 acre “urban park”
Joseph D. Grant in the hills above Alum Rock, this is a 9,553 acre park – biggest in the county system.
Lexington Reservoir crew happens! Super place to take in other people doing hard work or to enjoy some fishing. No swimming allowed. Just off highway 17 a little outside of Los Gatos.
Los Gatos Creek eventually this will connect Lexington Reservoir to the Bay. Now it goes a fair distance from Lexington through Campbell down to about 280. Wonderful place to ride bikes, roller blade or jog – in a group (some lone women have been assaulted on this sometimes remote trail, so please be careful)
Mount Madonna off Hecker Pass Highway between Gilroy and Watsonville. Great views. There are some historical sites to see (ruins of an old mansion) and some beautiful “white deer” are kept there too.
Penitencia Creek in Berryessa district of San Jose, a scenic spot
Rancho San Antonio close to Cupertino and Los Altos – a great place to go running
Sanborn in the Santa Cruz Mountains over Saratoga – great place to hike
Stevens Creek & Upper Stevens Creek in the foothills above Cupertino
Uvas Canyon County Park – East Morgan Hill. Hiking (waterfalls to be enjoyed), camping and picnicing. Special spot for youth groups to camp.
Uvas Creek Preserve Run by the city of Gilroy, 1.9 mile paved trail (strollers, bikes, rollerblades?).
Vasona Lake in Los Gatos – also the town of Los Gatos offers Oak Meadow Park as a corner out of the county park. There’s lots to do: sailing (and lessons through the rec dept in summer), paddle boats, a hand painted wooden carosel (in Oak Meadow), a tiny railroad (The Billy Jones Wilcat Railroad), tons of swingsets etc. Great place to do photography – very scenic setting with the Santa Cruz Mountains in the background. In winter, see the Festival of Lights in December. In summer, catch Shakespeare in the Park. Always lots going on here.
Villa Montalvo in Saratoga – hiking & trails (NO picnics) – musical performances – art shows. If you like photography, this is a wonderful setting for it.