Hike Elephant Mountain and Ewell Hill at Hidden Villa in the South Bay

Elephant Mountain and Ewing Hill are two of the Bay Area’s best-kept secrets. This 3.4-mile loop from Hidden Villa offers panoramic views alongside a hands-on farm experience.

From the main parking lot, walk south along the dirt road, then turn left onto the Hostel Trail. A series of switchbacks leads hikers up 500 feet of elevation through a thick, mossy forest before the trees give way to views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. On this section of trail, sharp-eyed hikers may be able to spot robins feasting on their favorite snack: bright red toyon berries.

At the intersection with Toyon Trail, bear left to continue upward to the summit of Elephant Mountain (1,200 feet) marked by two wooden posts. Snap your summit selfie and enjoy the view: on clear days you see San Francisco, the Stanford Dish, and the Diablo Mountain Range.

Continue along the Hostel Trail as it crosses into Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. Turn right on Black Mountain Trail and enjoy the views of Silicon Valley to the left and the steep canyons of the Santa Cruz peaks to the right. At Ewing Hill Trail, turn right, then immediately turn right up a short spur trail to reach the high point of the hike, the summit of Ewing Hill (1,250 feet).

Continue down the Ewing Hill Trail as it drops into the lush forest below. During the winter months, this creekside trail is a great place to splash in the water, spot a mini-waterfall, or search for newts. After a half mile of following the creek, the trail curves back to Hidden Villa farm. Before saying goodbye, enjoy a visit with the farm animals or sign up for one of the farm’s many sustainability, cooking, or wildlife classes.

Hidden Villa is located at 26870 Moody Rd., Los Altos Hills. From I-280, exit onto El Monte Rd. Turn left onto Moody Rd., and after 1.7 miles, turn left into the park. The park is open Tuesday–Sunday, from 9 a.m. to dusk. A $10 entry fee can be paid at the gate or online. Dogs are allowed on the Hidden Villa farm, but not the hiking trails.

Story and photos by Heather Werner, @heath.er.wer.ner

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