Hike and Seek

Hike McClellan Ranch Preserve Near Cupertino

McClellan Ranch Preserve is a neighborhood park hidden in plain sight just minutes from downtown Cupertino. A hike here has quiet moments in nature, historic ranch buildings, wildlife-watching, fall color, and Stevens Creek. This 2.1-mile urban hike traces along Stevens Creek to Blackberry Farm Park and the Stocklmeir Orchard.

Start at the west side of the parking lot, heading north on the Nature Trail. The mostly flat dirt footpath hugs the perimeter of a meadow where deer sometimes graze. Walnut, cottonwood, and sycamore trees stretch above Stevens Creek, creating a warm palette of browns, oranges, and yellows in autumn. Look up and spot boxes, used as nesting habitats for native birds, like the western bluebird. At 0.4 mile, merge left onto the paved Stevens Creek Trail, heading north.

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You’ll see farm animals, including alpacas, cared for by a local 4-H group. Multiple benches line the trail. Listen for trilling birds, scurrying squirrels, and the rushing creek. Three footbridges provide vistas over Stevens Creek. The Scenic Circle Bridge in Blackberry Farm Park connects to a local neighborhood, while two others cross to a group picnic area (reservation-only) and the Stocklmeir Orchard, with orange trees. Part of the fun is stopping to see the water flowing.

Hike McClellan Ranch Preserve near Cupertino

Turn around at 1.1 miles when you reach Stevens Creek Boulevard. Retrace your steps south on the Stevens Creek Trail all the way back to the McClellan Ranch Preserve parking lot. The red buildings here are a mix of new and preserved structures that speak to the park’s ranching heritage. Across the parking lot, the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society’s office is located in the original ranch house, dating back to the 1930s. In front of it are bird feeders maintained by SCVAS. It is a great spot for bird-watching, especially early in the morning.

Hike McClellan Ranch Preserve near Cupertino

From Hwy. 85, take the Stevens Creek Blvd. exit, heading west. Turn left at the first stoplight onto Bubb Rd. and drive 0.6 mile. Then, turn right onto McClellan Rd. and drive 0.8 mile to the McClellan Ranch Preserve on your right. The park is open from dawn to dusk. There are public restrooms in the parking lot. Dogs and bicycles are not allowed on the Nature Trail; they are allowed on the paved Stevens Creek Trail. To make the hike 100% dog- and stroller-friendly, skip the Nature Trail and head directly to the Stevens Creek Trail at the north end of the parking lot.

{Covid-19 Update October 2020: As of October 2020, park benches along Stevens Creek are open for use, but per signage, they are not disinfected.}

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