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Mount El Sombroso via Kennedy Trail

HARD 101 reviews

Mount El Sombroso via Kennedy Trail is a 11.7 mile moderately 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


mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching




wild flowers


2 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.

8 months ago

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.

Friday, July 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.

Tuesday, 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.

Wednesday, 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.

Sunday, April 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.

Tuesday, February 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.

Tuesday, February 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.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

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

Tuesday, July 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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

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.

Monday, May 01, 2017

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.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

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

Monday, May 30, 2016

(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.

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!

mountain biking
1 month ago

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