The Soquel Demonstration State Forest was dedicated in 1990, and is the first state forest to be added to the system since 1949. The forest is located along the east branch of Soquel Creek and includes portions of Amaya Creek and Fern Gulch Creek. It contains nearly 2,700 acres of redwood, mixed hardwoods, riparian, and chaparral ecosystems. The State forest is geologically active. The San Andreas and Zayante Faults pass through the property. Associated with the forests geologic activity are several natural springs and small marshes found in closed depressions, known as sag ponds.
About the hike: This Hike is intended to be approx. 10 1/4 miles with substantial elevation gain over mostly dirt and graveled logging roads and some single track trails shared by mountain bikes. For those not up to the full, moderately strenous hike, we will be passing a picnic area with picnic benches at the 2.6 mile marker that adjoins a large open meadow. You could read a book and enjoy the solitude while we complete the loop and pick you up on our way back to the cars. From this point we head up the Sulpher Springs Trail to the Ridge Trail, turn left and follow it to the Corral Trail, which will take us back down to the Sulpher Spring Trail and the picnic area where we can eat lunch. Please allow 5-6 hours if you sign up for this hike, it's a beautiful area with lots of interesting wild life, mushrooms and forest delights if you take the time to enjoy them.
Facilities: There is no water in the park so you need to bring your own. There is an out house 1/2 mile up the trail from where we park, and we will come back by on the way out.
Directions: From CA 17 at the border between Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties, exit Summit Road. Drive south on Summit Road about 4 miles, at which point Soquel-San Jose Road departs to the right, and Summit turns into Highland Way. Continue straight on Highland Way (there's no stop sign heading south or north). At the junction with Mount Bache, about 1 mile further south, turn right and then quickly left at Spanish Ranch Road to remain on Highland. Continue on Highland about another 4.3 miles, then park on the right side of the road near the signed entrance.
Another way to put on your GPS is use 26050 Highland Way, Los Gatos, 95033. That will take you to around the intersection of Canyon Vista and Highland Way. Continue for 2.8 miles on Highland Way will get you to the entrance.
Here is more info, including two maps: http://calfire.ca.gov/resource_mgt/resource_mgt_stateforests_soquel.php
Carpool Directions: Meet at the Los Gatos Park and Ride off of Hwy 9 at 8:15, for a departure time of 8:30. From Highway 17, exit on Saratoga/Los Gatos Road. It's located between University Ave & Santa Cruz Ave. It's the Northeast lot. It's hard to miss. You should see other people and cars.
Note: DO NOT USE THE POSTED ADDRESS! It is the Office buildings, not the forest entrance. (Glenn: I fixed the location link, it shows you the actual trailhead, but it does not change the written address. Most vexing).