If you're looking for a great hike, just a few miles outside San Jose, hit up Rancho San Antonio Open SpacePreserve!
It's accessible, it's about 1.25 hours - a perfectly sized loop for a Saturday morning - and it's enough of a challenge to leave me a little bit sweaty!
Directions: From the 280 North or South, Exit on Foothills Drive. Take Cristo Rey Drive to the park entrance.
Parking: It's one-in-one out on the weekend. Plan ahead or carpool. There is a large parking lot with bathrooms at the very end of the entrance drive and smaller parking lots at the top of the hill.
What to expect:
- The first 1/4 mile is flat and a bit uneventful until you get to the Farm. If you're a jogger - it's a great chance to get in a quick trail run on packed dirt.
- Turn right past the Farm toward the Ridge trail and you'll meander along a bit more flat trail before hitting some heart-thumping switch backs that just...keep...going...up... to the vista point.
- Turn left past the Farm and it's a slow climb up through a wooded canyon. A bit narrow at times, but the shade and scenery is really nice heading up to the vista point.
- Either way - it's downhill from there!
Other Options at Rancho San Antonio:
- From the Wildcat Loop, head to the Canyon Trail or out toward Rhus Ridge for a beautiful hike along canyon ridges on dirt trail.
- From the entrance, take the Coyote Trail to the PG&E trail. You'll head up...and up...and up... to a beautiful vista point that (on a clear day) lets you see straight to San Francisco! (then you keep going up. take snacks.)
Even the most committed gym rat needs some sun! So - wherever you are - take your sweat sesh outside once in a while for some Vitamin D and some fresh-air-endorphins!