Pacheco State Park, 20 miles east of Gilroy, is the last remaining portion of the Mexican land grant, El Rancho San Luis Gonzaga. Francisco Pacheco and his son Juan were granted the property and built the first house in Merced County on this land in 1843. The land remained in the Pacheco family through five generations until Paula Fatjo, the great-great granddaughter of Francisco Pacheco, donated the land in 1992 to be a park for future generations who share her love of animals, horse back riding, history, and unspoiled land. This land has been a horse and a cattle ranch since 1843 and has breath taking views of the Central Valley to the east and the Santa Clara Valley to the west. The park has beautiful displays of spring wildflowers, scenic vistas, and outstanding trails for horse-back riding, hiking, and mountain biking. The 28 miles of trails offer several loop options to give visitors the choice of a hike or ride of from one to twenty miles or more. During the spring the parks grassy slopes abound with blossoming wildflowers. The park is home to tule elk, deer, bobcat, coyote, fox, several hawks, golden eagles and many other smaller animals. Cattle continue to graze on the ranch in the winter and spring months. Among the historic features of the park are an old line shack used by Henry Millers cattle company in the 1800s, part of the old Butterfield Stage line route, and the remains of the original Pacheco adobe. There is also a wind turbine farm which generates enough clean electrical power for 3,500 homes. The area is semi-arid, with daytime temperatures ranging from 80 to 100 degrees in the summer and 45 to 65 degrees in the winter. Evening are quite cool all year due to coastal marine air moving eastward across the Pacheco Pass. Park is open 8am-sunset. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.
David P. on Spikes Peak Loop Trail
I just went to Pig Pond and back, most all down hill on the way back. Plan on being in shape or taking your time. It was very nice lots of hills, wildlife is everywhere I saw nice deer while catching my breath. Lots of grass I did not see any snakes but as things heat up you would have to be very careful.
I really like this trail. It has both fire roads and some single track trails. It is an endurance workout and you can make it as hard as you want or as long as u want. You can also make it short and sweet. Its a close distance to Los Banos so its perfect for me.
This Bike trail is awesome had a great time at Pacheco. It has some really fast downhill clean roads and great views I highly recommend this to anyone who is a beginner to an expert.
I rode my Scott Scale 29comp. Let me tell you there were some trails there that were even too big for me and my bike to climb up so there is walking up hill. I would I will be going back next week to take a different trail.
Right now, I chose to rate this trail with 4 stars because it offers a decent challenge to any skilled rider. In the summer everything is dry so it doesn't offer much in the way of scenery. BRING WATER! No potable water. Parking is $10 (7-20-13). I can't say that these trails are worth the $10 in parking, but for some new trails to try out it's not that bad overall. This trail has a few different loops you can take to make the ride short or long. I would recommend that anyone that ventures to these trails for the first time should choose a loop that starts the same as this track. The beginning of this track takes you to the highest point of the trail system at the start of the ride. After that, the majority of trail system offers various positive and negative increases in elevation, but nothing as significant the initial climb. You could always do it last, but I'd rather do the main uphill climb first. Some of the trail along this track is quite steep and the trails have a bit of loose dirt/gravel etc.