What? : Short drive from
San Jose up the south east bay hills will take you to Sierra Vista park. You will
enjoy the south bay views as well as the hiking across the open grassland hills
and ridge top. One of the best viewing points on the south bay.
Where? : Drive to the
top of Sierra Road, San Jose, the free public parking area will be on the
When? : Year round,
prefer at winter or spring when it is all green.
Due note 1: At weekend
just before sunset the small parking lot can be full and without any other
option to park along the Sierra Road you may need to drive back down. Come early,
enjoy the local hikes, and wait for sunset.
Due note 2: This is a
small park with few hikes’ options, some are short and easy some are long and
difficult. You can combine this visit with hiking all the way down to Alum Rock
park but than you will need to climb all the way up back to the starting point.
Due note 3: This is one of
the best viewing points on the east valley mountains, view of south bay and
My thoughts: Only recently I
“discovered” this park. The main “attraction” in this park is the view of the
south bay valley below you. There are only 3 hikes in the park, mainly in open
grassland hills. I visit here several times mainly for sunset and moonrise viewing
Vista Open Space Preserve in the Eastern hills of Santa Clara County offers
sweeping views of the south valley below and the opportunity to stroll through
open rolling grassland hills.
The park is
located above Alum Rock Park creek on its western hill slops, there is a trail
that connects you to Alum Rock Park.
panoramic views as you stroll through the ridge top trails.
offers multi-use trails open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Stop
at benches located along the trails to relax and enjoy the views.
The park trail
system is relatively simple but there are over 10 miles of trail covering the
ridge top and one long 9 miles trail that is going south to the ridge on the
other side of the creek (I did not hike it yet).
Aquila Loop Trail (1.15 miles, Red
Easy hike north
of the road, a good option for beginners and families with children. Enjoy the view
to the north as you stroll through grasslands, Mission Peak on the left side
and Mt Diablo far at the north.
Easy viewpoint hike (2 miles,
parking lot a short 0.25 miles trail (Kestrel Trail) will connect you to Sierra
If you keep
right on the main trail additional ¾ of a mile heading west will take you to a hilltop.
From here you have a view of all the south east valley and San Jose below.
Boccardo Loop Trail (2.7 miles
loop + 2 miles from the parking lot, Blue color):
From the base
of the viewing hilltop this trail will lead you all the way down to the trail
connecting to Alum Rock park. I will recommend doing this loop counterclockwise,
going down on the steeper trail, and climbing up on the switchback section.
Sierra Vista Trail (5 miles, Purple
Trail turn left into Sierra Vista Trail, at this section the narrow trail will
cross the cliff edge and after 0.9 mile from the parking lot you will cross a
large bridge and connect to the dirt road. Here I recommend turning left and
climb the Upper Calaveras Fault Trail (we will come back from the other side). Once
you pass the road close gate keep hiking down until you will reach a trail
junction. Turning here right is a shortcut road that will take you down, I recommend
keep hiking the Upper Calaveras Fault Trail.
additional 0.9 miles turn left on a short connector trail that will lead you to
the historic Rach House at the small valley below.
From the ranch
house go back up and this time turn right into Sierra Vista Trail, 0.7 mile
will bring you back to the loop start (near the bridge), additional 1 mile will
bring you back to the parking lot.