Explore the most popular walking 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.

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.

5/2/2018 This hike is a lot of up and down for a decent view of San Jose. There are not too many switchbacks, so there are a lot of steep but relatively short pitches. Pretty exposed, although there is a decent amount of shade in the beginning and middle for this kind of trail. All the trails are fire road style, and you’re under power lines a lot of the time. You don’t lose the sound of the traffic until the third mile. However, it’s a nice escape from the South Bay, and a good place to let the dogs run as long as you stay mindful of mountain bikers, plentiful here. I made a loop by taking Kennedy Trail back to Priest Rock Trail on the way back, but the original map is easier and shorter. Kennedy follows the ridge line so there is a lot of uphill even on the way back. There are a lot of beautiful wildflowers out and the temperature was perfect even at midday, though the views were hazy. I probably won’t come here much in the summer, especially because there is no swimming in the reservoir. I passed only one mountain biker on a Wednesday midday.

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
2 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!

2 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.

Beautiful hike

This trail opened to public on Sep 17 2017 after 1.5 years and $25 million dollar restoration effort.

This is nice moderate 7.4 miles out and back trail.
The best parking spot is Bald Mountain parking spot 1.6 miles up mt. Umunhum road and Hicks road intersection. There are about 10 spots + 4 on the sides. Gets filled up early so go there before 7:30 am to get a spot.

The views are spectacular and once on the top, you will be rewarded with gentle breeze.

you will enjoy every minute

A great hike to finish this trails in the area for the Sierra Azul Ridge! Trails open to public officially 2017 September 18!

Definitely HARD. Didn't think it would be too challenging but it was a lot of up in the heat. I'd say definitely worth it though for the views of downtown SJ.

Very nice hike with challenging acceleration in the first half. We did this on a pretty hot day ( > 95), you should really pack enough water, a hat and try to start very early! We started at 7:30 and therefore still had a lot of shadow

finally opens September 17th 2017. can't wait!

If you want a good sweat this is the place to go! Awesome workout with great views. Highly recommend it

9 months ago

Some steep inclines. Shade on most of the trail up. A few rocky/slippery sections. We took Lime Kiln up, and Priest Rock Trail back down to where our car was parked. Nice hike!

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

I really enjoyed this trail, however I would say it's a little harder than moderate. It's completely uphill for about 2.5 miles until the trails diverge. It's a great hike and an awesome workout, but be prepared for a serious incline.

Also, while I was hiking my car window got smashed and my purse was stolen from my backseat. So if you're in this area be sure to lock up your belongings so they are out of sight completely. My windows are even tinted so it's hard to see in my car at all, but the thief was persistent. Would definitely go back despite the theft, but would leave everything I wasn't hiking with at home.

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.

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