Distance: About 8 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous in parts with a long and fairly steep climb up and later a steep decline, otherwise small ups and downs.
Description: Have an extra piece of pie on Thanksgiving since you'll be working off the calories on Saturday in Joseph D. Grant County Park, the largest in the county with many miles of wide trails with only a trickle of fellow hikers and bikers and great views especially now with the trees beginning to turn along the ridges. The park is just east of San Jose over the ridge and nestled in a valley. The trails are mostly exposed and sunny. We'll start on the Snell Trail, connect to the Barn Trail, the Lower Hotel Trail, take the Canada de Pala Trail up to and along the ridge, the Los Huecos Trail back down (quite steep at a couple points so bring shoes or boots with some traction), the McCreery Lake trail, and finally the Loop Trail back to the parking lot. Should take us 3.5 hours or so including a break. Sweep TBD.
Driving Directions: There are two main ways to the park. From Highway 680, take Alum Rock Avenue eastbound in San Jose. Turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Road and travel eight miles to reach the park entrance. For those coming from the west or south along 101 or 280, take 101 to Tully exit. Take a left at the light onto Tully. Right on Quimby (narrow in parts but fine for passenger vehicles). Final right onto Mt. Hamilton Rd. and park entrance is very close on the right. Be careful Googling the address listed on the park website, since it leads you to the southern end of the park which is NOT the main entrance and NOT where we're meeting. The main park entrance is just .4 miles or so south of the intersection of Mt. Hamilton Rd and Quimby Rd.
Park Office: (408)[masked] (note cell service is spotty especially in the valley at the parking lot).
There are lots of little parking lots in the park, so to get to the right one, go through the guard station ($6 vehicle entry fee) and continue forward, curving around a bit, until you come to the miniature traffic circle. Go forward around the circle and the parking lot is immediately on your right and the Stockman picnic area will be on your left. There are bathrooms on the other side of the picnic area, and the Snell Trail begins at the edge of the parking lot.