Explore the most popular forest 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.

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.

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.

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.

The trail is great,but beware of the bike riders on their way down.

Great uphill workout for the legs with a pretty consistent uphill for the first 4 miles. Go early in the morning to avoid the hot sun because a decent amount of the hike is exposed. Hiking poles may help because there are a select few very steep uphills and downhills. Without taking any breaks, the entire hike took exactly 4 hours at a decently fast pace. The views of the valley and from the top of Mt. Elsombroso are very nice. The best views of the mountains can be seen if you walk 0.1 mi. to the left of the junction at the top of the hike to the second electric tower.

This is a great trail to get some mileage in with lots of hills. I started late in the morning so it became extra toasty at the top so best to remember to bring plenty of water if you will be in the hotter hours of the day. There were great views and wide trails that were well marked. I would go again.

Beautiful hike. Some of the best views of the South Bay Area along this hike. It starts trading off between up hill and down hill and then gets quite steep for most of the hike. It is about 4mi from the Kennedy Rd trailhead to where it meets the Limeklin trail, which can take you to Lexington if you go right or if you stay left you can connect all the way to the Mockingbird parking lot in Quicksilver.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

This place was very nice. I went in the fall and it was quite lush and green. Some nice scenic views and wildlife viewing. I spotted quite a few salamanders along the trail.

Open trail, not much shade towards the end. But a good workout for your legs.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nice views, and road condition after recent rains made it quite nice!

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Meh. Nothing to write home about." (Definition of 2 stars here) very accurate. A few days since the last rain and was fairly dry. Could've walked up in sneakers but not recommended. Dogs aren't allowed all the way to the top and the view from the top is next to power lines. Lots of driving for "meh".

Friday, December 30, 2016

Anyone who says there are only occasional views should be commended since they've obviously hiked this challenging trail with their eyes closed. Views of the valley sweep from deep Almaden to downtown San Jose, culminating in Los Gatos (if taking the trail from Kennedy Road). When you don't see the stunning views of the valley, there is plenty of opportunity to gaze at forests and hills.
Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunglasses because the constant uphill grade will wear on you, but it's totally worth it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

If your looking for a nice workout this trail is perfect! By the time I got back to the car I burned ~3,300 calories! I went a day after a rain and it was still cloudy and a bit muddy. This trail is essentially a fire road, it's very wide and the brush is cleared away. There are some nice views on the way up and very little tree coverage.

I was hiking at a pretty fast pace and took no breaks along the way (except for quick stops to take photos). On the way out, the trail is all up hill. I walked about two hours straight up! On average my heart rate was at 145-150 bps, this is pretty high for me, especially for 2+ hours. The way back in is almost all down hill, there are a few up hill portions near the top but it's almost all downhill after that.

Big wide fire road with occasional views.nit bad, but not interesting either.

(This has a happy ending) The trail is rough-hewn (rocks sharp enough to be felt through boots) and wide (rare shade, bring EXTRA water). Summit has one "up & down" after another, which was irritating in both directions. The views are rare. But...
...when you do get a view, it's stunning.
...trail runner I met said if you can dodge the rocks (and are in ridiculous shape), it's a great, solitary run.
...mountains bikers paradise (well, almost - needs more shade).
...horseback riding looks nice (but for the sake of the horses, ensure they're well shod).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

This is probably the best trail in the Southbay for preparing for harder hikes like Halfdome or Mt Whitney. A full Kennedy-Limekiln-Priestrock-Kennedy loop will be over 14 miles with more than 3500 cumulative elevation gain. I have done the entire trail along with the interconnected Priestrock and Limekiln trails at different times. I have been doing the Kennedy (till the Priestrock intersection) almost every week since last November (in preparation for a Grand Canyon Rim to River hike and a Halfdome hike I'm planning this May-June). Hoping to incorporate parts of the Kennedy-Limekiln-Priestrock loop in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Very peaceful. Lots of trees and great views across San Jose. No benches. A word of warning, in the small car park at the hicks road/mount Umunhum road, there have been lots of car break-ins. I was there in November and all but mine of the 6 cars had been broken in to.

Friday, September 20, 2013

This is a nice trail with lots of shaded areas and interesting geological variety!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

These trails include vigorous routes, in my opinion, up to the Sierra Azul ridge overlooking the valley. 'Very satisfying getting to the top like where Kennedy Trail comes from residential Los Gatos (Shannon Valley) meets the Priest Rock Trail from Lexington Reservoir (Alma Bridge Road).

Taking the round trip up Lime Kiln and back to Alma Bridge Road is a vigorous 4+ mile walk. Kennedy up and back from Kennedy Road is a vigorous 7.5 mile walk.

The Lime Kiln trail is all up from Lexington, but meant has shade and is not a fire access trail. It is a nice trail all the way through to the Woods trail intersection.

Kennedy along the ridge has some steep ups and downs.
Priest Rock Trail has very steep ups going to its summit.

Keep hydrated! I am not an intense runner/biker but found myself easily using up three liters of water on a hot day going up and back to Kennedy via a 10 mile LimeKiln/PriestRock/Woods/LimeKiln loop.

Long down hill returns to base can be tough on your knees!

1 month ago

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