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If you’re looking for where to go hiking near San Jose, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve profiled tons of local options in our latest hiking guide. But I have to tell you, some of the most scenic hiking near San Jose is just south of the city in Coyote Valley.

As one of the only large valley floors in the Bay Area that hasn’t been paved over and developed, Coyote Valley is truly special. If you have a minute, the history of this place is pretty interesting and you’ll be surprised to hear what almost went down (including the potential headquarters of Apple). The short story though, is that we’re incredibly lucky to still have this landscape to enjoy.

Visiting Coyote Valley is like going back in time. Vibrant farms, massive oaks and meandering creeks stretch across the entire valley floor, bridging the narrow gap between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. In fact, this valley is the last intact connection between these two ranges and a vital area for wildlife who live in our region—that’s part of why we’re working so hard to protect it.

So, get your boots on and go shake it loose on these hiking trails in San Jose’s backyard:

 

Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve

Hiking in San Jose - POST

Overview: A 348-acre preserve with multiple trail options 20 minutes from downtown San Jose.

Best time to visit: Late March to mid-April (for spring wildflowers)

Activities: Hiking, biking, horseback riding

Driving directionsClick here to open map

Preserve information and trail map: Click here

Managing agency: Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Our favorite hike: Follow the Arrowhead Loop Trail for four miles around the perimeter of the preserve for great views of the valley below. There are shorter options available too, including the easy out-and-back to the southern vista area along the Arrowhead Loop Trail. It is only 1.7 miles round trip with a gentle 170-foot climb and provides one of the best views in the preserve. Note that there is an ADA compliant bathroom at the parking area, but the trail surfaces here are loose gravel and steep, not ideal for wheelchairs.

 

Coyote Creek Trail

Hiking in San Jose - POST

Overview: A mostly flat, paved trail along the Coyote Creek (and it’s dog-friendly!)

Best time to visit: All year, but can be hot in the summer months

Activities: Hiking, biking, dog-friendly, wheelchair accessible

Preserve information and map: Click here

Managing agency: Santa Clara County Parks

Our favorite hike: San Jose’s Coyote Creek Trail will one day provide users with a 30-mile trail experience from the edge of the Bay to the headwaters of Coyote Creek. There are many existing sections of this trail you can enjoy today. Our favorite section starts at Metcalf Park and follows the trail south for a mile to a bridge that crosses Coyote Creek, which my coworker Kevin Ice wrote about in depth here. You can walk further, but this section provides great views and there’s a playground at Metcalf Park for the kids to enjoy.

 

Opening in 2021: Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve

Hiking in San Jose - POST

Overview: A 1,859-acre preserve that will open to the public in 2021

Preserve information and map: Click here

Managing agency: Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

More about this preserve: Although not yet open to the public, you can look forward to exploring this preserve in 2021. The property has a large area of rare serpentine grasslands, which explodes with wildflowers every spring. It is also a hot spot for birds, including golden eagles, burrowing owls and many others. The views looking into Coyote Valley and across to Loma Prieta, the tallest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, are also world-class. Visit the preserve’s project page to learn more.

                                       

 

Learn more about our work protecting Coyote Valley.

 

 

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About Post

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

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