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Very well kept trails. Not so crowded. Steep slopes at beginning of Rhus Ridge and at end of Black Mountain trails. Beautiful sceneries of trees, meadows and the Silicon Valley. Roughly about 9.5miles long 3.5hrs walk.

Very pleasant in the winter if not raining.

Seemingly endless combinations of hike-able units... I’m biased but not sure there is a better mix of loop options for 2-5+ hikes.

hiking
10 days ago

I’d recommend starting with the coyote ridge trail and doing the loop that way. The lookout trail and tony look trails are hiking only and you lose a lot of the crowd once you get off the coyote ridge and fern trails. Great views of the entire Bay Area, definitely recommend making the extra push up to Maisie’s Peak. Overall great hike!

Great hike with some amazing views!

Perfect way to spend Thanksgiving Day! The view at the top is spectacular...

Nice trail, but definitely be careful of mountain lions since there are lots of encounters.

Been on the hike to Black Mtn many times but especially love going in the late fall or early spring when the temps are cooler. I've never heard of a Monte Bello "Loop" before and you won't find signage in the preserve that says that. Its a series of trails; be sure to grab a map. The landscape is beautiful here and weather often different from the valley. From parking, we usually take the Bella Vista Trail to the Backpack Camp and then follow the old Ranch Trail - it lets you out onto the road just shy of the top. We often lunch on the rocks at the top of the mountain (Calera Limestone) after checking for rattlers first. The return via Indian Creek Trail is GORGEOUS, especially in spring, but also rocky, steep & open exposure - luckily we were prepared for the brief rain we got today. When we junction with the Canyon Trail that leads back to parking, we've come so far down the hill that its a sustained climb back up - not always fun at the end of a long hike. If this return trails sound too challenging, suggest taking Bella Vista back down.

hiking
1 month ago

I’ve done this hike many times, and it’s always great. Parking on Mission is free.

Great hike close to town. Mix of woods and chaparral. Often see birds and bunnies. Lots of lizards on warm days. As noted, first and last sections are so lucky steep.

Hard to find parking on weekends but can park at Foothill College.

trail running
1 month ago

Can start also at Parker Ranch near Saratoga Country Club, crosses Fremont Older & Stevens Creek Park boundaries. Have phone or GPS, lots of forks, options & Vista points

Not a bad hike. I'd watch out though because:

1: Trails aren't very well mapped so we almost missed our turn a few times!
2: Part of this trail doesn't exist. It kept telling us to turn but there was no way we could have... Didn't matter because we got there eventually but! Just a warning, bring a map/download the trail!

This is my favorite trail from back home to solo hike! Trails are really nicely done and the hills definitely make sure you’re working hard the entire time. If you have the energy, I would recommend hiking up to the Black Mountain Peak for really great views and a different sort of terrain!

hiking
1 month ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Took about 4hrs to complete. Started at 7:30am..

the first one mile is mostly exposed so are first two miles of the return loop. the hard parts are all in the first half of loop. once you reach the top power transmission tower then it's all downhill and you can enjoy the view. if you have enough strength then it's worthy to continue to black mountain tower for 4 more miles round trip.

Scenery: 3
Views: 3.5
Difficulty: 3.5
Crowds: 3
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Scenery: 2
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3
Crowds: 2
Shade: 1


My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Nice covered trail

I've done this trail a number of times in the last few years. It's always a good workout, best be wary of the sun in summer.

Did the hike this afternoon. Was planning on just doing the PG&E trail but said what the hell when I reached the top. I left at 4:10 and reached the top of PG&E in just over an hour. I jogged about 40% of the way. Thought it was a bit late and was short on water but figured I could do another 2 miles without too much difficulty. The trail narrowed and was steep from the get go. I'm 54 and can keep a decent pace (I think). I met two young girls along the way and was surprised at their speed but one said she ran x-country for her high school. We decided to go to the top together despite the late hour. I was concerned about possibly having my car stuck inside the gate over night if we got back too late. 1 mile from top of PG&E took about 35 mins. I thought it was a butt kicker. We could see the radio towers a good 3/4 mile from the top and I was about to turn around, thinking we wouldn't make it back til 8-8:30. The young girls proceeded...I wasn't going to drive home with a gut wrenching feeling of defeat so decided to finish it. We made it to the towers at about 6:15. A good very tough hour for the last two miles. We high fived and took a few pics and promptly headed down. We kept a good pace. I was depleted of water but one of the girls gladly filled my empty bottle. Due to the steepness it was nearly impossible to run. Made it back to the top of PG&E just after 7. We returned via Wild Cat and were finally able to pick our speed up after a 1/4 mile or so. We were trotting at a good pace as the sun had set and the full moon came into full view shortly thereafter. It was dark at the top of Wild Cat and we needed our flash lights. Too dark, steep and tired to run by then. We went through the farm and finally made it back to the parking lot just before 8 where I was greeted by an angry Ranger Ken who proceeded to give me a lecture, along with a 45.00 ticket for being late. I didn't give a shit. Was glad I went to the top and happy the girls gave me the extra push I needed. This hike is 12 miles from the parking lot. I would call it bit of a butt kicker. Doing Whitney in a few weeks so this was a good practice run, albeit not at elevation.

Great hike! Amazing views...

Great trail but this is not a place to bring your dog as the trail prohibits dogs explicitly and I found out the hard way (a $300 fine)

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To reach black mountain, there are three prominent trails. One is via hidden villa, second one is via Rhus ridge and the third one is via PG&E trail.

This trail (3rd) is less common due to the elevation gain being close to 3200 feet and is 12 miles total hiking distance. It is a good hike and gets challenging on the last two miles of ascent i.e. 5th and 6th mile. This hike is a must do in bay area before going to Yosemite hikes like upper yosemite waterfall hike or four mile hike etc.

When you reach the top, don't get dishearten by the communication towers. Rather, take the monte bello road towards the opening and you will be pleasantly surprised with the view of pacific ocean to west, San Francisco city to north, Lick's observatory in the east and mnt umunhum in the south. Also, you will get a good view of the silicon bay area.

I recommend this hike.

What a view! This hike gives you a little bit of all the trail types, wide, single track, over grown brush and a nice mix of shade and no shade. The cows were overprotective of their young today and at one point, we had to find an alternate route around the cows. One even chased us for a few second as it had been spooked by someone’s else dog that was not on a leash.

Eagle View was definitely overgrown and scratchy with a steep cliff off the side. Would not want to do this trial if wet.

Only confusing part was at the intersection of Canyon View and McCorkle, go to the left of the tree to head back to the park headquarters. The path looks like it disappears due to the cow prints but it picks up right after.

We saw a group of Elk when we were leaving the park!

Will do this again!

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