Santa Teresa Serenity
Hike a scenic loop at Santa Teresa County Park in San Jose
Santa Teresa County Park offers wooded trails, stunning views, and an up-close look at ranch life, all without ever leaving San Jose. This 3.7-mile loop is a breath of fresh air.
Begin your journey at the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch Historical Area. Visitors can explore the restored ranch house, gardens, and barn—a glimpse of California farm life when Silicon Valley was still known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight.
Head south on the Joice Trail as it winds up into the hills. Within minutes, the city of San Jose swims into view, with Mission Peak and Mount Hamilton dotting the skyline. At the intersection with the Vista Loop, turn right. This short loop brings hikers to the west side of the hills, where they can catch a glimpse of Loma Prieta in the distance. (For hikers completing the Santa Clara County #PixInParks challenge, this is one of the required photo spots.)
After completing the loop, continue along Joice Trail, then turn left onto Mine Trail. This steep descent is lined with sunny wild mustard blossoms and amethyst-hued thistle. As the path flattens out, turn left onto Norred Trail to walk above the old Norred Ranch. Once the site of guided horseback rides, the barns are now overseen by the County Parks.
Norred Trail gently meanders through the woods, leading hikers past the remains of one of the old barns, now inhabited by wild animals such as turkeys and deer. Catch one last view of San Jose before rejoining Joice Trail and descending to the parking lot.
Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch can be found at 372 Manila Dr., San Jose. From CA-85, exit onto Cottle Rd. and follow it south. Turn left on Curie Dr., then right on Camino Verde Dr. Pull straight into the parking lot. Santa Teresa County Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Leashed dogs are permitted on the trails, but not in the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch. Tours of the historic ranch are available by reservation.
Story and photos by Poe Casavant
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