New trails. Excellent views. And easy access.
Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve
I like solo hiking, but this was too good an opportunity to miss. More than 500 open-space lovers met in late June to celebrate the opening of a brand new 348-acre preserve and the four-mile Arrowhead Trail.
We visited exhibits by the Open Space Authority of Santa Clara County, and supporters of wildlife education and rehabilitation, sustainable agriculture, and the local Coyote Valley community. We listened to short speeches by local politicians and leaders of environmental groups, heard a blessing from a local Native-American, and then joined in a quick ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Now came the best part. We hiked the new Arrowhead Trail. It was good.
It is good because you can walk four miles in a loop so you don’t have to retrace your steps. It is good because even with a climb up to 800 feet or so, the grades are relatively easy. It is good because as you continue along the ridges, you experience a variety of views and ecologies. You never know what the next bend in the trail will bring.
What will you see? Sweeping views of the Coyote Valley. Rounded hillsides. Serpentine rock outcroppings. Oaks, bays, and buckeyes. Grassy meadows. Seasonal flowers. Chaparral and poison oak. I can’t guarantee it, but you may see coyotes, deer, magpies, raptors, and cows.
As a brand new trail, the cuts are a bit raw, but my feet enjoyed the softness of fresh, untramped dirt. Even with more use, there will be few rocky sections.
It is easy to stay on-trail. The trails are well marked, but be sure to pick up a map at the trailhead, or download a PDF map at openspaceauthority.org. Most trails are single-track. There is only one place where the trail is intersected by an old road, a steep alternative better to avoid. If you like to stop, rest, or take a timeout to snack, you’ll appreciate the benches and picnic tables.
It’s good exercise. At the end of the day, my Fitbit® read 12,649 steps and 5.78 miles.
Although this preserve seems particularly well suited for hikers, the multi-user trails welcome riders of horses and bicycles. No dogs are allowed. There is plenty of parking, a large equestrian staging area, and ADA accessible restrooms, but no water is available in the parking area, the trailheads, or along the trails. Bring water, but you don’t need money. Preserve entry and parking are free.
Future plans call for more trails, including a shorter paved trail suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.
The preserve is easily accessible. Take Highway 17 to Highway 85 south to Highway 101 south. In about three miles, turn west on Baily Avenue, left on Santa Teresa Boulevard, and right on Palm Avenue. The preserve is at the end of Palm Avenue. (It’s about a thirty-mile drive from Summit and Highway 17.) If you use your own GPS or Mapquest directions, the preserve address is 550 Palm Avenue in Morgan Hill.