Golden Vista

Hike and Sunset Viewing at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

Around the bay, stunning sunsets are just a quick hike away. This 4.5-mile loop through Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve includes beautiful vista points, seasonal tarantula sightings, and an epic grand finale sunset spot!

From the main parking lot, head south on Kestrel Trail, then turn left onto Sierra Vista Trail. This rocky area is home to desert tarantulas, who are most active during their autumn mating season. Sharp-eyed hikers can spot males wandering the trails in search of love.

At the next intersection, turn left onto Calaveras Fault Trail. This hilly stretch offers spectacular views of the surrounding Diablo Range and Santa Clara Valley. Continue past Cutoff Trail and take a well-earned break at the picnic area.

Continue along Calaveras Fault Trail, then turn right onto Sierra Vista Trail. Enjoy the aromatic eucalyptus before the trees give way to grassland. On sunset hikes, keep an eye out for gopher and king snakes basking in the last few sun rays before nightfall.

Retrace the route back to the parking lot, where benches have been set up for excellent sunset viewing. Watch as Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay light up in Barbie pink and beautiful orange. Be sure to look behind you to catch the golden glow on the hillsides.

Sierra Vista Open Space has another fantastic sunset spot that can be accessed from the same trailhead, Boccardo Hill.

Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve is located at Sierra Vista Point on Sierra Rd. in San Jose. From I-680, exit east onto Berryessa Rd. Turn left onto Piedmont Rd., then right on Sierra Rd. Drive 3.7 miles, then turn right into the parking lot. For sunset viewing, visitors must arrive before 6:30 p.m. The park closes a half hour after sunset. No dogs.

Story and photos by Heather Werner,

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Bike the Monterey Coastal Recreation Trail

    To the Lighthouse

    The Monterey Recreation Trail is one of America's most beautiful coastal experiences, accessible to bikers, strollers, rollers, and walkers. This 8-mile (round-trip) bike ride follows premier parts of the trail before detouring to Pacific Grove's storied Point Pinos Lighthouse.

  2. Sponsored

    The Unexpected Wonders of Monterey

    One of the world’s best teachers? Mother Nature. And one of the best destinations to learn from her? The Monterey Bay Aquarium. Spend a few hours at the Aquarium, then take your pick of self-guided walks...

  3. Tombstones and Tarantulas

    Forget black cats; a randy tarantula crossing your path can really get your heart racing. So can spirits in a cemetery! Visit Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and learn about these misunderstood spiders, plus pay a visit to the Rose Hill Cemetery, where ghosts are said to exist.  

  4. London Calling

    The writer Jack London was known for his adventure stories, and an autumn hike at his namesake state park in Sonoma Valley illuminates more than his career. Eucalyptus, oaks, sprawling vineyards, and brilliant redwoods are part of the autumn magic amid the rich history of the park.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. woman hiking Elkhorn Slough Reserve in Monterey

    Hike Elkhorn Slough Reserve

    Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California’s few remaining coastal wetlands. Go on a hike and marvel at one of the state's largest coastal salt marshes, a valued habitat for birds, plant life, sea otters, and marine mammals.

  2. Red Rocks in California

    Colorful badlands, towering buttes, and scenic desert cliffs form a hikers paradise. Red Rock Canyon State Park is a lightly visited desert wonderland where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converges with the El Paso range.

  3. Woman hiking up to views from Desolation Canyon in Death Valley National Park

    Canyons Calling

    Canyon hikes come in all shapes and sizes in Death Valley, and we’ve got two gems. One requires more rigorous scrambling and navigation, and leads to a dryfall; the other takes you up to a brilliant vista.

  4. Hiking Cobb Estate Haunted Forest

    Welcome to Mr. Cobb's Haunted Forest

    The ruins can be explored on an easy 1.5-mile (round-trip) loop trail. Hike it close to dusk for maximum creepiness (just make sure you're out by dusk, when the park closes).