Explore the most popular birding trails in Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

I don’t come here too much in the hotter months but I like the trails a lot. There is a lot of elevation gain and the trails are wide enough to share with the many bikers. My dog loves it. Not much in terms of views unless you go all the way up to El Sombroso, and even those are not the best on hazy days. Not too much parking at the trail head, just roadside turnouts. Also a bummer that you can’t swim in the reservoir.

hiking
20 days ago

It’s a bit steep but beautiful. A lot of birds. Mostly shady. Parking is limited.

Steep both on the up and downhill sections of the loop. Some nice views up towards the bay. Very light foot traffic. Some hardy bikers.

Love this trail. Some really nice climbs.

Very nice hike. Not for the beginners. Mostly shaded. View from the peak is awesome. Gates are not opened till 7 AM in the morning, even in summer. Not of much place on the side of the road to park the car. So, going early may not be advised.

nice n quiet. good incline. plenty of sunshine, definitely need hat and sunblock.

Doing the loop clockwise is a good up-hill challenge but not overly so. Mostly in the shade during the uphill and not too bad on the downhill section. Some nice views at the top though nothing jaw dropping.

Very challenging and fun hike. It’s very steep early on heading up Priest and also very exposed. I started around 8:30am and it was pretty warm by 9:30. Wonderful views near the top and Linekiln on the way back down was a nice change with a little more shade. Loved the elevation change on this hike. Light traffic on a Saturday, very nice.

This is one of the trail we like the most and hiked the most. It may be quite challenging for the beginners. The steep hike gives you great workout, the best hike near Los Gatos in the winter time. I wouldn’t recommend for a very hot day because most of the trail has no shades.

Challenging but very nice!

Challenging hike, lots of incline. Watch your step for the loose rocks on the decent.

The shade was great and on a clear day you can view the city from afar

Tough hike, but epic views and not a lot of foot traffic.

Only good as a training hike. It is hot with little shade. Views are nice in places. Few people some mt bikers. The trail is a road so there is plenty of space for all.

Only hiked to Priest rock and back on Kennedy because it was very hot, most of the hike is in the open/sun, and I didn’t want to run out of water for my pup and I. Four miles up hill... saw a rattlesnake on the way up and a fox near the top. Lots of sparrows and butterflies along the way. Irises are blooming now. Bring more than one canteen if you’re planning to hike this in the summer!

The parking is limited and not the easiest to back out of if there’s other cars parked.

It’s a nice trail. Gets quite steep at a few spots. That coupled with the total length can make it a hard one. If you’re a regular hiker this should be a nice 4 hour workout. Not too easy but definitely not crazy hard either.
Views up top are nice. Nothing much to see along the way.

hiking
6 months ago

I really enjoyed hiking this trail. Parking is scarce, find what you can along the side of the road. Went up Limekiln and could hear the streams bubbling. Met more bikers than hikers the day I went. The green gate at the top opens up to a few other trails - but I stayed on this loop. Limekiln provides shaded trails while the Priest Rock side has more open sky. I’d say coming up the other way is more difficult with a steeper incline. All in all, took me under 2 hours to complete including a bit of downhill jogging on the Priest Rock side. Definitely will be coming back to explore the other trails in this area.

Good up hill workout. Nice rainy day hike with fog. Not many people. There are two entrances along the road. Park at one and take the trail at the top that loops back down. Then walk a bit on the road back to your car where you started.

Not too hard, a little steep at times. Can see SJ, SF, and Oakland from the top!

7 months ago

moderate uphill, not much of a view at the top.

Not the most variety but fantastic views, lots of birds! And because it’s a fire trail, easy to walk with a companion.
My 22 year daughter and I made it to the top but I found it a hard hike. The rolling ridge at the top was a bit daunting for me but worth the trip.
Round trip with a lunch break for us was about 5 1/2 hours.

IMPORTANT FOR DOGS: the last part of ascent (last 500m) does not allow dogs. My wife stood with my dog while I was checking this section. That is a shame because this is the section where you get the best views of San Jose. Definitely hard but not exhausting. Some parts get fairly steep.

Only a small amount 'street' parking; and maybe not strictly legal. Generally easy trail and quiet.

It's nice & quite to hike this place

Hiked 2-10-18. Enjoyed the walk up, noting the beautiful madrones, oak, and manzanita trees. Also got to a see a Bobcat! Trail was nicely shaded with great views of San Jose. I also enjoyed the company of a new friend Peter. Cheers.

This has a lot of uphill hiking- it’s not just uphill out and downhill back, so be prepared! Great training!

Beautiful trail and views!!

Good elevation gain to get you some good exercise. Mostly shaded except at the top. Great views of the reservoir towards the end. Small parking area on roadside at the trail head.

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