Hike among Wildflowers at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve near San Jose
A rainbow of wildflowers, grass-green hills, and beautiful views make Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve a wonderful hike in springtime. Just 20 miles south of San Jose, the park’s signature hike is the 4-mile Arrowhead Loop. It’s a rolling climb through oak savannah, wooden bridges, overlooks, and grazing cattle.
From the parking lot, follow signs for the Arrowhead Loop on a multi-use trail. Blue oak and valley oak mingle with evergreen California bay and coast live oak, creating a shimmer of green hues. Deer graze near the trail and you may see sparrows, kestrels, and California quail.
A little over a mile into the route, a spur leads to three picnic tables at a serpentinite outcropping. To the east is a vista overlooking Coyote Valley and the Diablo Range. This is a great spot to have a break and a snack.
After the spur, climb through California buckeye and spring wildflowers: shooting star, golden violet, buttercup, and baby blue eyes. After a high point with a view of Mount Hamilton, begin a rolling descent, where you may encounter cattle near the trail. Finish your loop back at the parking lot.
Take Hwy. 101 South to exit 373 for Bailey Ave. Turn right onto Bailey Ave. and drive 0.9 mile. Turn left onto Santa Teresa Blvd. and drive 2.0 miles. (Santa Teresa turns into Hale Ave.) Turn right onto Palm Ave. and drive 0.7 mile to the preserve’s parking lot at the end of the road. Hours are 7 a.m. to sunset. No fee. Restroom in the parking lot. No dogs.
Covid-19 Update, March 2021: The Arrowhead Loop is one-way, counter-clockwise. Please maintain 6 feet of distance. Masks are required when you can’t maintain 6 feet of distance while passing on trails.
Story and photos by Melissa Ozbek, @melissaozbek
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