Mount El Sombroso and Lime Kiln Trail

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Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve

Mount El Sombroso and Lime Kiln Trail is a 11.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Los Gatos, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.7 miles Elevation Gain: 2,936 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

A more advanced version of the Lexington Reservoir Loop, this hike connects the county park to the Sierra Azul open Space Preserve.

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 days ago

Definitely challenging with some nice vistas on both sides. Best done on an overcast day as most of the trail is fully exposed. Temperature/wind/humidity can change quite a bit, especially near the top so bring a layer just in case. Limekiln is the northern-most trail before the 4-way junction and the southernmost after the 4-way. In both sections, it is gentler than Priest rock / Kennedy, so I recommend it on the way down for the knees. It is also somewhat more shaded and narrower, so generally nicer to hike on. Priest Rock is the southernmost trail before the 4 way and the northernmost after the 4-way - it is followed by Kennedy. It is overall a sequence of steep uphills and downhills and is particularly brutal between the 4-way and the junction with Kennedy. I would recommend it on the way up, although it is quite challenging. Overall, the direction on AllTrails matches what I would recommend. As mentioned in other review, Mt Sombroso itself is quite anticlimactic, but there is a nice view of Mt Umunhum, which is not too far as the crow flies but still takes another 7-8 more miles of trails to get to.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
10 days ago

Challenging hike! Come here if you want a real work out and want to burn calories.

hiking
24 days ago

An amazing hike as long as it's not too hot. Limeklin Trail has a lot more shade than does Priest Rock Trail. The peak is not that stunning, but there are great views of San Jose from close to the peak. There's also a great view of Mount Umunhum.

hiking
26 days ago

moderate incline for awhile and then it can get steep and rocky, views along the way are nice, but there is not a good vista point at the end. gradual decline at the end.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice challenging hike. Views at the end of the Santa Clara Valley are some of the best in the area. The trail has some pretty spots but too many phoneline towers around unfortunately.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

Completed this hike yesterday. It was difficult but not terrible. The first half of the hike is definitely the worst part with very little shade and lots of ups and downs, some fairly steep. You’d go up a bunch and then go down a bunch so you’d have to go back up again. The second half of the trail was better. Mostly down and a lot more shaded. The only real complaint with it is that parts toward the end were pretty rocky. I might do it in reverse next time so that most of the uphill is shaded.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

running
1 month ago

Not the rail I had planned to run, but an amazing location with a challenging climb!

bugs
rocky
1 month ago

First time here and definitely not prepared for a steep climb, and bugs lol . Love the location and will be back.

This longer than what’s stated. The hike is 12.3 and a moderate hike with nice hills for a good work out!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

If you're looking for views this is the right trail and this is the right season to do it when it's sunny outside. Be ready for a first 6.5 miles... It's challenging but to reach the highest pick if the trail defenatly worth it. The view is just amazing and take a break there for 30 mins is mostly suggested. If you have kids with you suggesting to verify they handle more than 3000 feet elevation (my 7 years but and 9 years girl did it, but it was very challenging for them). Take some worm clothes with you, some area that are not covered by sun are chilly for kids. Also... if you average hours per mile velosity is more than 30 mins, suggesting to take extra time. We started the trail at 10:30 am and finished it at 4:00 pm which was just before the sunset. Up to you... I will always suggest to take with you extra garbage bag to collect some garbage dropped by trailers. It helps and very educational for kids.

Fun! More moderate than hard with decent views

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Very serene with nice views of Los Gatos and The Valley in a few spots. I ran into only a few people. Trails are wide (more of a fire service road for high power lines) but also extremely steep in some sections. Bring lots of water and do this trail in cooler weather.

hiking
4 months ago

Great challenging hike. Beautiful views. Worth the challenge and a good work out

hiking
5 months ago

This trail follows a set of fire and access trails over the Sierra Azul between the Los Gatos-Almaden Hills and Lexington Reservoir. It has an excellent mix of steep uphill on wide fire trails and vista sections with rolling terrain. The trail is fairly lightly trafficked over the whole length.

Very difficult. Lots of uphill and lots of slippery pebbles. Great workout!

hiking
9 months ago

Good training/workout hike. Mostly monotonous views, a few vistas. Lots of bugs/flys. Pretty exposed. Easy to follow and well maintained.

hiking
no shade
scramble
10 months ago

a great training hike!

hiking
no shade
11 months ago

I love this trail it is a little difficult but totally worth it...

Great for conditioning and def a good workout. Various uphill climbs going up. There isn’t much of a view at the top though. I’d say the best view is just before you reach the end at the top. Going down is a lot more easier. If you’re worried about difficulty, I’d say try this route in reverse, as it’s more gradual going down. The terrain can be rocky and slip, so bring some good shoes. Also bring some type of hat and plenty of water. There isn’t much shade throughout, especially on the way up. I started at 8:00 AM and the sun was already beaming down on me by 9:00 AM.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
Fri Apr 26 2019

Pretty tough trail, definitely more for experienced hikers or those looking for a challenge. Most of the trail is exposed to sun so I recommend wearing a wide brimmed hat and bringing plenty of water. There are some good shady sections to cool off for breaks so it wasn't too bad overall. There are pretty cool panoramas the higher up you get but alot of the power lines obstruct these views. Mt El Sombroso was disappointing as there were even more power lines and not a shady spot in site. Still kinda neat to get up that high, though.

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