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Bear Creek Redwoods, a POST-protected open space just three miles south of Los Gatos, opened this weekend for you to explore. Get ready for six miles of new trails that wander through a preserve rich in cultural and natural history.
You can find hiking information for this new preserve below, but the history of this place is deep and knowing just a little of its story will heighten your experience when you visit.
Bear Creek Redwoods is rich in cultural history. Within the preserve you’ll find Ohlone mortar stones at the newly constructed entrance, stumps of ancient redwoods once harvested for the construction of nearby San Francisco, and the remnants of the Alma College, the first Jesuit school of theology.
Protecting this 1,432-acre property was a top priority for POST for much of our early history. With steep canyons thick with redwoods and perennial creeks that feed Lexington Reservoir below, Bear Creek Redwoods offered the potential to create a breathtaking redwood preserve in the heart of the South Bay, just a short drive off Highway 17. But saving this land from development has been a labor of love and a test of our tenacity.
In 1999, in partnership with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen), we protected Bear Creek Redwoods, narrowly saving it from becoming a golf course with luxury estate homes.
Our intention was always to open the preserve for public use, but dilapidated buildings, hazardous old roads, invasive species and a lack of safe parking made that a prohibitively expensive and complex undertaking at that time. Momentum to open this preserve picked up speed in 2014, when voters approved Measure AA—a $300 million bond with funds designated for public access improvements within Midpen’s properties. Over the past four years, they have been hard at work preparing this new preserve for everyone to enjoy.
Now, six miles of trails are open for hikers and equestrians in the western portion of the preserve, progress toward the 20 miles of planned multi-use trails. So, get your hiking boots ready. For first time in its long history, Bear Creek Redwoods will be a place for all to enjoy.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 77,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more