It Takes a Hidden Villa

Farm Animals and Hikes at Hidden Villa in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Adorable farm animals, and peaceful hiking trails in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hidden Villa is a special place to explore that you will want to keep coming back to. Short and longer hiking loops here wind up through valleys to South Bay vistas. The combination of wilderness trails, the working farm, and friendly volunteers make it a calm, welcoming, and joyful outdoor experience.

Start in the main parking lot, where friendly greeters provide helpful information. Just south is the Tin Barn with sheep and cows. If you’re lucky, you may catch a volunteer in the pens, who can help you touch the animals. (Try a weekend morning for the best chance.) Just staring at their cute, cuddly faces will melt your heart.

Cute sheep at Hidden Villa Farm in the South Bay

After the Tin Barn, the road forks. To the left is the Creek Trail and to the right are the Bunny Loop Trails. The trails generally begin in the bay- and fern-covered forests and climb to sunny chaparral ridges. For a gentle hike along Adobe Creek, bear left for the Creek Trail. On the way, say hi to goats and, ahem, Gordon Ramsay (a ram at the White Barn). For more oomph, bear right for the Bunny Loop Trails, which climb higher and more steeply to peek-a-boo views of the Diablo Range and South Bay. A chicken coop next to the Bunny Loop Trails is a fun spot to visit.

If you’re up for more, combine the Short Bunny Loop with the Creek, Grapevine, and Hostel Trails for a 3.5-mile, 950-foot-gain loop. It’s a hearty climb to gratifying vistas of the South Bay, mountains, and farm below. Past the Tin Barn, bear right and follow signs for the Short Bunny Loop. After 1.1 miles, join the Creek Trail along Adobe Creek, heading east. Follow the Grapevine and Hostel Trails to loop back to the farm.

NOTE: Hidden Villa be closed from December 24 to January 1.

From I-280, take exit 16 for El Monte Rd. west. Follow El Monte Rd. west for 0.5 mile. Turn left at the end of the road, and then make an immediate left onto Moody Rd. Drive 1.7 miles to Hidden Villa on your left. Open Tuesdays through Sundays from September to May and select summer weekends. The entrance fee is $10 per carload. See the website for updates. There is a restroom at the Wolken Education Center next to the main parking lot. No dogs. 

*Covid-19 November 2020 Update: Online reservations are required ahead of time and limited to a 2-hour window to help promote social distancing. Reservations are $10 per carload. Make your reservation here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email and a map of the trail system. A one-way trail system has been implemented and is shown on the map. Masks are required on the farm and within 6 feet of another hiker on the trails.*

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