Explore the most popular birding trails near San Jose with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Sierra Azul is great in the fall and winter, hot and buggy in the summer, and bursting with wildflowers in the spring. It is a very diverse environment and a healthy forest. It is all fire roads, but there is a good amount of shade on the Hicks Rd. side. El Sombroso is a nondescript peak with so-so views. There are better views from the trail just below the peak on the Kennedy side. Dogs allowed only on the Kennedy-Limekiln side; watch out for fast mountain bikers. Serious inclines on this route with a lot of up-and-down, makes it a great workout. Definitely one to check out if you live in the area.

Beautiful and cozy trail and it’s mixed with the nature. Very relaxing.

hiking
6 days ago

Great place for hiking, biking etc. Highly recommend to those who want a good hike within San Jose without commuting.

Seemingly endless combinations of hike-able units... I’m biased but not sure there is a better mix of loop options for 2-5+ hikes.

I have completed this section of the trail on my bicycle, it is a really pretty section of coyote creek trail in my opinion. Great city trail section for walking, running or paved bike riding but pretty heavy trafficked whenever I have gone, so be aware to look out for people jogging if you are on your bike.

Good for a convenient city walk. The trail has some areas that may contain a lot of trash. There is a big homeless population that stays along the trail.

hiking
24 days ago

Loved this trail that we recently hiked with kids. A bit crowded but with family it worked great and was a good work-out as well.

Beautiful views of Gilroy. Wide trail with a gradual incline. Great place for a light hike!

Beautiful walk. Nice and shaded. Plenty of places to catch your breath and enjoy the views

Great place to hike. Nice wide trails.

Fully shaded hike even good sun light. Great terrain for training endurance track

Fun little loop to run

walking
1 month ago

Nice easy brisk walk in nature.

hiking
1 month ago

Need better trail markings. No bathrooms, but porta potties.

hiking
2 months ago

Make sure you go to the top and do the Bald Peaks trail

Scenery: 3
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3.5
Crowds: 2
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Scenery: 3
Views: 3.5
Difficulty: 3.5
Crowds: 3
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Scenery: 3
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3.5 from Alum Rock Park
Crowds: 2
Shade: 2


My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Easy trail .. Kid friendly park

road biking
2 months ago

Overall nice trail . People have mentioned homeless or not a great area near by. Just park in Hellyer Park by the lake you’ll be fine then go south from there. I’ve done this ride a couple of dozen times. Most of first half of trail plenty of shade second half some but not much. Also first half busier with hikers, dogs, families once you pass fishing ponds much less traffic on trail. The trails is mostly flat with some gentle rolling small hills. The park about 5 miles past Hellyer has a bathroom the next is at the end. There are a few water spots and benches every so often. Once at the end you can continue another mile, mile and half to Anderson dam the last quarter mile up to dam is kinda steep just be warned but I enjoy going there.

LOVED THIS TRAIL! Hiked mid morning, most of the trail has shade nice and peaceful and was very beautiful amongst the trees. We saw lots of deer!!! Definitely going to be a regular trail for me!

Great for biking. Goes even further than the map shows.

hiking
2 months ago

There are mountain lions here! We were able to take our dog on a leash and did about 4 hours of hiking into different tails. We did notice however that there weren’t many people on the trails which is how we saw the mountain lion taking a nap on the trail. When there’s less foot traffic it can be dangerous. Overall it’s decently covered with trees and the weather can be warm.

Great hike but very little shade. Go early morning/late evenings to avoid the heat

Easy hike, rolling hills, but nothing hard. Dog allowed on a leash.

trail running
3 months ago

Great trail for a morning run. Minimally technical terrain with only a few rocky spots and one narrow section allow for opening up a stride on the descent. The only downside is that the minimal shade makes it get hot quickly. Run the big loop to the summit clockwise (straight at junction) for a gentler downhill or counterclockwise (right at junction) for a steeper downhill but gentler uphill.

A great morning hike, has a decent amount of ups and downs, views of SJ and even downtown in some spots. Parking is on side roads and the trail is decently crowded on weekends. Sunny trail mostly with a couple shaded areas. A lot of mining history to see and ruins of some mines.

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