Now and Zin

Hike and wine taste at Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve

From colorful foliage to rainstorm-fed rivers and beautiful views, Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve showcases the best of autumn. For a relaxing walk beneath the trees, do the 4-mile (round-trip) Zinfandel Trail through the Cupertino foothills. The trail begins beside the historic Picchetti Winery, home to beautiful rustic barns, a scenic picnic area, and their famous flock of peacocks.

Signs for the Zinfandel Trail lead hikers to a seasonal pond. Watch your step, as newts, frogs, and banana slugs are common sights this close to the water.As the trail gently descends toward Stevens Creek, eagle-eyed hikers can catch sight of the Stevens Creek Quarry and Reservoir to the northeast, along with vineyards dotting the hills. But the real treat this time of year is the fiery foliage, from the bright red poison oak (look, but don’t touch!) to the yellow and orange maple leaves.

After a rainstorm, hikers can enjoy views of the creek while they relax at the Cooley Picnic Area. This lunchtime spot has picnic tables, toilets, and a water fountain and is easily accessible from Stevens Canyon Road for ADA access. On quiet mornings, be on the lookout for deer foraging at the edge of the forest.

To return to the winery, retrace your steps up the Zinfandel Trail. On the way back, hikers who want to continue the adventure can turn onto the Orchard Loop Trail, a half-mile stretch that arcs toward the reservoir before returning to the Zinfandel Trail.

And of course, the best way to end a day in the woods is with a picnic and a glass of wine, so be sure to put up your feet and enjoy the 125-year-old Picchetti Winery grounds after your hike.

To reach the trailhead, take the Foothill Expwy. exit from Hwy. 280 and travel 3.5 miles southwest on Foothill Blvd./Stevens Canyon Rd. Turn right on Montebello Rd. The Preserve is half a mile up Montebello Rd. on the left. No dogs on trails.

Story and photos by Poe Casavant

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