San Jose, California
Los Trancos Open Space Preserve
December 18, 2004
Los Trancos Open Space Preserve
274-acre preserve is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Palo
Alto. Situated at about 2,000 feet, the preserve always has fresh air
scented with pungent bay leaves, sweet grass, and damp woods. Here, a
pleasant environment of rolling grassland knolls alternating with oak
woodland and cool shaded forest can be found. On a clear day, visitors
can spot the gleaming skyscrapers of San Francisco and pick out Mt.
Diablo across the bay.
||February 12, 2005
Whale Watching Day Trip
Contact our trusted servants
to get on board. Departs Monterey Fisherman's
Wharf at 10:00 am sharp.
Take 280 North to Page Mill Road. Head west up hill for a few miles until you see the park signs. The parking lot is on the right. If that lot is full, there's a larger parking lot for Monte Bello Open Space Preserve on the left with (the only) outhouses. If you reach Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35), you've gone a mile too far.
Page Mill Road and the other roads nearby are popular with cyclists (the pedal kind). So take your time driving, enjoy the view, and be alert for bikes and deer.
An alternate route is slightly shorter and prettier. Take the Moody Road Exit off 280 (one exit before Page Mill Road). Head west, past Foothill College (stay in the left lane). Watch for Moody Road street signs to guide you through confusing intersections. You'll pass the farm/hostel where we've hiked a few times. The road gets pretty twisted and the trees pretty serene as the road climbs. Eventually, you turn right onto Page Mill Road and continue a few miles to Los Trancos.
Need to Know
is free. The parking lot gates open at 8:00 AM and are locked
overnight. Maps and park information can be found at Trail Maps/ Park Info
No poodles. No drinking water, bring your own. Consider bringing a snack, binoculars, and some newcomers.
December weather may be kind to us, but come prepared for drizzle, wind, and mud. The meeting site is an open hillside with a great view, but if it has been raining, you'll want something to sit on like a sheet of plastic. The good news is that If the ground is wet, the air will be crystal clear, and the you'll be able to see for miles and miles. We'll hike if it's drizzling, but not if it's raining. Call David R. before 8AM the day of the hike if in doubt.
One of the special things about this preserve is the many different ecosystems and plants in the small area.
Walking the Walk
This is a level 3 hike, barely. It's an easy 5 miles with a 400' gain in elevation. The are trail is a little rocky at the start, so sturdy hiking boots are best. Most of the trail is pretty smooth, so you can do the walk in tennis shoes if that's all you have.
We'll start on a small trail that climbs the hill on the west side of the parking lot, not the main trail in the middle of the lot. The hill has a nice view of the bay area to the North and West, and Loma Preita to the south. We'll walk right on the San Andreas fault, one foot on each side of it. You get a pretty good view of how the fault reaches from Loma Prieta to Crystal Springs Reservoir. You may want to take the guided San Andreas Fault Trail after the hike to learn more.
We leave the fault line on the Franciscan Loop Trail, which takes us to the Lost Creek Loop Trail. You'll cross many streams as we travel in and out of oak forests, fern streambeds, and finally up into rolling hills. Page Mill Trail takes us to our meeting site.
The return trip zig zags trough the
middle of the preserve and a mini-swamp with lush vegetation.Then
we meet the Page Mill Trail again which takes us back to the parking
lot, past the start of the San Andreas Fault Trail.
Wild Recovery Meetings
| What to Wear
& Bring | Trail Maps/ Park Info
What is Wild Recovery? |