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~5.9 Mile Hike at Monte Bello Open Space Preserve

  • May 5, 2013 · 9:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

About Monte Bello Open Space Preserve:

Map of the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve:

The preserve's main entrance is on Page Mill Road, approximately 7 miles west of Highway 280 and 1.5 miles east of Skyline Boulevard. The Monte Bello lot is on the South side of Page Mill Road, however, if additional parking is available at the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve parking area, located directly across Page Mill Road on the North side.

Monte Bello (beautiful mountain), a large preserve with varied features, is an important link in the chain of protected open space clustered off the top of the mid-Santa Cruz Mountains. It connects Upper Stevens Creek County Park with Skyline Ridge, Los Trancos, and Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserves, enabling many different long hike combinations. Monte Bello boasts grassland, Douglas fir, live oak, and California bay forests, a riparian corridor, great views, and a backpack camp. The rare, limited camping option (by permit only) makes it possible to take a multi-day hike from the Santa Clara Valley to the coast.

Spring, with its attendant wildflower bonanza, is a great time to visit, but the other seasons are charming as well. In winter Stevens Creek is a roaring stream, and in late summer and autumn bigleaf maples and deciduous oaks put on a foliage display. The seasons really seem to stretch here, and you might see blossoms on a currant bush in the canyon, blue-eyed grass near the trailhead, and great spreads of popcorn flower, johnny-jump-ups, owl's clover, and bicolor lupine at the ridgetop.


The "nuts & bolts" of the hike:

Hiking speed:  Regular hiking speed, short gathering stops at trail junctions, break stop at the junction of "Indian Creek Trail" and the "Old Ranch Trail", 2/5

Hiking surfaces:  Dirt trails and fire roads, 2/5

Elevation gain:  Trailhead ~2200 feet; high point ~2680 feet, low point ~1800 feet ; 2/5

Hike distance: ~5.9 mile loop, 2/5

Trail Exposure:  Mostly sunny

Hiking time:  ~3 Hours

Rated as moderate, 2/5 with some strenuous bits. 

Hike details:  (Mile markers are approximate)

* gathering stop

** break stop 

0.0:  This hike starts at the north end of the parking lot, at the signed "White Oak Trail".

*0.6:  Bear left on "White Oak Trail" at the signed junction.

*2.0:  Turn left at the junction with "Skid Road Trail", following the trail signs towards "Stevens Creek Nature Trail" and "Canyon Trail"

*2.3:  "Skid Road Trail" ends at "Stevens Creek Nature Trail", go to the right on "Stevens Creek Nature Trail" towards "Canyon Trail".

*2.9:   At the signed intersection with "Canyon Trail", turn right and head south on "Canyon Trail".

*3.1:   At the signed junction with "Indian Creek Trail", turn left.

**4.1:   At the signed junction. make a left at the "Old Ranch Trail".

*4.5:   At the signed junction, go to the left, on "Bella Vista Trail".

*5.3:   "Bella Vista Trail" ends at a signed junction with "Canyon Trail". Turn right onto "Canyon Trail". Note a transitional sag pond sitting off the right side of the trail; the San Andreas Fault runs through this preserve.

*5.5:  At the signed junction, take the trail signed "to Monte Bello Parking Lot" off the left side of the trail.

*5.9:  Arrive at the Monte Bello Parking Lot on the "Canyon Trail"

Optional Lunch:

Almaden Hiking Group assumes ABSOLUTELY NO responsibility, including but not limited to injury or loss of any kind/form due to the use of information, or participating in activities found on this group/site. By becoming the member of the Almaden Hiking Group, you agree to the terms and conditions of the group.


Individuals interested in carpooling may voluntarily do so.  You are advised that the use of carpool system is voluntary and entirely at the discretion of participants. Almaden hiking group or the organizers assumes no responsibility.  It is the responsibility of individuals participating in a carpool to notify their insurance provider of their intent to carry non-family passengers and to ensure that they have adequate coverage to protect both themselves and their passengers. It is the responsibility of the individual accepting a ride in a carpool to ensure that the driver of the vehicle has an acceptable driving record, is licensed accordingly and has adequate insurance to protect both driver and passengers.  Almaden Hiking Group and organizers are no way responsible for verifying or certifying the reliability, driving ability or insurance status of drivers and participants using the system.

Acknowledgment of Member Responsibility, Express Assumption of Risk, and Release of Liability:
By joining the Almaden Hiking Group:
I understand that during my participation in any Event or Activity organized by the Almaden Hiking Group, I may be exposed to risks include, but are not limited to, the dangers of serious personal injury, property damage, and death (“Injuries and Damages”). I agree to WAIVE, DISCHARGE CLAIMS, AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY the Almaden Hiking Group, its Organizers, event hosts and leaders from any and all liability on account of, or in any way resulting from Injuries and Damages, in any way connected with the Activity. I further agree to HOLD HARMLESS the Almaden Hiking Group and leaders from any claims, damages, injuries or losses caused by my own negligence while a participant on the Activity. I understand and intend that this assumption of risk and release is binding upon my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, and includes any minors accompanying me on the Activity.


If I bring guests to participate in the event I take full responsibility of the guests and agree to all above terms and conditions.

I have read this document in its entirety and I freely and voluntarily assume all risks of such Injuries and Damages and notwithstanding such risks, I agree to participate in the Activity.


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  • A former member
    A former member

    Crazy weather. Wind at the top, then drizzle.

    May 6, 2013

  • Graeme

    Uhhh, the weather was a bit less than perfect at the start, but, once down in the valley, it was really nice. and is off by 1 mile! Varied trail widths, shared with horses and bikes, plus many great sweeping vistas. Thanks to those who braved the winds at the top and finished the hike!

    May 5, 2013

    • Nick C

      Hi Graeme, you will need to change the endomondo privacy option to public the for others to see your route :).

      May 5, 2013

  • Nick C

    Thank you Graeme! Enjoy a small friendly group :)

    May 5, 2013

  • Graeme

    Weather should be near perfect for this hike. Low 60's at the start, low 70's at the end, mostly sunny skies, winds 5-10mph. Please remember to bring water and sunscreen!

    1 · May 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Graeme, Would it possible carpool with you ? If so let me know where to meet.

    May 4, 2013

    • Graeme

      Sure, Nick, we meet in the parking lot by Hobees Restaurant.

      May 4, 2013

    • Nick C

      thanks! see you there.

      1 · May 4, 2013

5 went

  • Graeme
    Group Co-organizer, Event Organizer, Hike Leader, Co-Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Nick C
    Hike Leader
  • A former member
  • A former member
    +1 guest

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