Sunday, April 1, 2007

Monte Bello Open Space Preserve

The Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is located on Page Mill Road, almost at the top near Skyline. I arrived early in the morning and found the main parking lot still locked, so I parked in one of the four street parking spots near the Canyon Trailhead. Since I had to park here, I did the trail loop in the opposite direction.


Starting at the Canyon Trail, I went up the Bella Vista and Old Ranch Trail to the top of Black Mountain. Along the way are some great views of the Stevens Creek Canyon area. I did get passed by a running team and saw a preserve ranger -- but that was it along the whole 6 mile hike.

At the top of Black Mountain there was a group of deer grazing on the green grass. The view of the South Bay was obscured by Fog that morning -- so the view was not great. But still it was very nice to be up on the top of the mountain with almost no one around except for Deer and some Jackrabbits.
On the way back I took the Indian Creek Trail. This trail has some great views but is somewhat steep. I would suggest doing this hike in the reverse and since the Indian Creek Trail is probably best hiked UP, not down.


The Indian Creek Trail leads to the Stevens Creek Nature Trail. This trail is only for hikers since it crosses a creek (no bridge) and has a couple steep cliffs. The Trail is well shaded and is a very nice change from the other trails which are out in the open.

The Stevens Creek Nature Trail leads out and up to the Main Parking Lot. There are a number of other loops and trails in this park. The Main Parking Lot was about 1/3 full at 10am on a Sunday. One warning - Page Mill Road was FULL of bicycles coming up the hill at 10am, so pack your patience as the road is very narrow and there arent alot of turnouts to pass bikes coming up the hill.

Basics:
Area - Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District - Monte Bello Open Space Preserve
Trail - Canyon, Bella Vista, Old Ranch, Monte Bello, Indian Creek, and Stevens Creek Nature trails. (Trail Map)
Length - 6 miles - Moderate Hike (some steep parts)
Trail - Loop-style, dirt trail, few stops along the way. Very well marked and maintained.
Dogs - Not allowed
Bikes - Yes, on some main trails
View - Plenty - best on the Top of Black Mountain
Getting There - Google Map Take Page Mill Road West from 280...there is a Sign before the main parking lot.
Fee- None, free parking
Weather - Cool mornings, but this area gets warm in the summer. Not usually foggy.
Other Trails - there are other trails within this park. Trail map at the main Trailhead, but bring a printout if you want to explore the other trails. The Los Trancos Open Space Preserve is across the road from the main parking lot.

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