Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

Introduction:

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 right.

Google Map Link





 

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 sunset.

 

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 opportunity.



 

The visit:

The Sierra 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.

Enjoy the panoramic views as you stroll through the ridge top trails.

 

The preserve offers multi-use trails open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Stop at benches located along the trails to relax and enjoy the views.

 

Hiking options:

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 color):

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, Orange color):

From the parking lot a short 0.25 miles trail (Kestrel Trail) will connect you to Sierra Vista Trail.

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 color):

From Kestrel 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.





After 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.

 

www:

https://www.openspaceauthority.org/visitors/preserves/sierra.html

 

Map:

https://www.openspaceauthority.org/system/documents/SierraVistaTrailMap.pdf

https://www.sanjoseca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument?id=9679

 

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