Mount El Sombroso via Kennedy Trail

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Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve

Mount El Sombroso via Kennedy Trail is a 11.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Los Gatos, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options 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: 2,755 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Note: Dogs are not allowed on the last portion of the trail to the peak.

hiking
1 day ago

I’ve been there yesterday (05/23) and the trail it was 12.8 miles. It’s hard but a good workout.

hiking
6 days ago

Nice wide trail with lots of bikers. Parking available on the road to the left as the parking lot fits only 2 or 3 cars. Steep climb and not a lot of shade. Saw 2 deer and lots of humming birds.

hiking
muddy
9 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

Hiked part of trail with my dog. Great time. Will come back to do more of the trail.

21 days ago

Bring lots of water. Ants every where so you can't really stop lol besides that it's super challenging on the legs.

Nice climb and good workout. More sun than shade, so early start is recommended. Nice views as you traverse across the top ridge. 12 mile out and back took me almost 4 hours.

hiking
1 month ago

Cannot get enough of this trail! Even during COVID-19, not too many people which is so nice!

hiking
bugs
no shade
1 month ago

Perfect weather today. I would rate this trail as moderate truthfully. It’s a pretty easy incline most of the way. Good for work out though.

hiking
1 month ago

Great afternoon hike, amazing views, and solid workout. The hills somewhat rolling overall but not too steep. Lots of shade and sun throughout. You can see all of San Jose at parts and the ascend will get those leg muscles burning. Bring enough water and towel

Good challenging hike, nothing to complain about, beautiful views of the South Bay.

hiking
4 months ago

I would recommend this hike to anyone that wants a tough ascent. From the trailhead it goes up for 3.9 miles and then you come to a fork in the trail at the top. One heads straight as the other goes down to the left. The trail on the left will loop you back to near where you started. If you keep straight you will ascend a little more and then there is a path to your right along, it comes up pretty fast. This will lead to some good views. Weather permitting you can go forward and continue the Kennedy trail for another 8-9 miles. Very fun hike. One more thing to add, this trail is shared with mountain bikers. Be safe out there.

Looks like a great trail for mountain biking, but for hiking it’s a complete bore. No good views. Decent exercise though with steep ups and downs.

Great workout!

hiking
6 months ago

It was really hard for me. It took 5 hrs to complete include lunch time on the top of mountain. First half was nicely sloped and easy to keep walking. But later second half was really tough. The view was amazing and could feel sky so close to me. Nice exercise, I want to try again.

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

A great trail, but definitely a workout. It’s good for dogs, although the last part of the trail to the peak said no dogs allowed and had rangers around the area. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunblock. We were followed by a lot of flies.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Hard. Very hard

hiking
10 months ago

If you’re looking for a good workout, this is it. If you’re looking for great vistas, this probably isn’t for you. I hit the trail at 6.30 and got back to my car around 10 or 10.30 and I would recommend the same as there is not a whole lot of shade. ‘The top’ isn’t clearly marked and is not worth it IMO as it’s in an overgrown area (tics) with trees ‘blocking’ any view. But if you’re looking for the extra steps, more power to ya. It started getting a little buggy at the top, still not bad at all. Watch out for rattlesnakes.

*Forgot to stop my recording so it was actually more like 12.5 miles* - this is a difficult hike which I definitely underestimated. The last leg of the hike to the summit has a lot of up and down incline that is extremely steep. Saw a guy walking his bike up the hills and looked miserable. Overall it’s a good hike to test your endurance. I’d say even though Umunhum is 16 miles, it is less strenuous, and more enjoyable with better views so that may be a better choice. Kennedy Trail is also very exposed so would not recommend this hike in the summer.

hiking
Sat Jan 19 2019

Great for a workout. Lots of folks on this trail. Too hot for summer days so start early. I have seen mountain lions twice on this trail. Once at 11 am. The second was early evening. Its their home not mine.

hiking
Fri Jul 13 2018

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.

hiking
Tue May 22 2018

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.

hiking
Wed May 09 2018

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.

hiking
Sun Apr 01 2018

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.

Tue Feb 27 2018

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.

hiking
Tue Feb 13 2018

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.

Sun Aug 06 2017

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

hiking
Tue Jul 18 2017

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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