Colorful Calero

Hike or bike at Calero County Park in the South Bay

A hiker sitting on the trailside taking photos of poppies and wildflowers at Calero County Park in the South Bay

Rolling green hills, gorgeous vistas, and wildflowers festooning the landscape … yep, it’s a good time to visit Lisa’s Lookout. This 5.4-mile out-and-back hike in the South Bay’s Calero County Park is a gentle ascent through landscape currently awash with color.

California poppies decorate the green hills at Calero County Park in the South Bay

Two cows on the trailside hills at Calero County Park in the South Bay

Hiker on a trail at Calero County Park in the South Bay

From the Rancho San Vicente entrance, pass through the cattle gate and follow the Lisa Killough Trail as it winds up into the hills. This is a popular stretch, and hikers often share the path with cyclists and dog walkers. After half a mile, cross the Almaden-Calero Canal and bear right to stay on the Lisa Killough Trail.

Hiker on a trail at Calero County Park in the South Bay

From here, the landscape changes dramatically, alternating between boulder-strewn fields and lush forest. While hiking the open sections of trail, look for sun-loving flowers like the lupine and California poppy. In shadier manzanita groves, hikers can find clusters of bright buttercups. Butterflies and other colorful insects enjoy the flowers too.

Blue butterfly

Hiker crossing at bridge at Calero County Park in the South Bay

After 2 miles, turn left into Lisa’s Lookout, a picnic area celebrating Lisa Killough, who worked with Santa Clara County parks for 25 years and was a dedicated advocate for conservation and expansions of trail systems. Lisa passed away in 2016.

Sign for Lisa's Lookout at Calero County Park in the South Bay

Soak up the views of the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains, including Mount Umunhum to the west. Return the way you came.

Mountain biker on a trail at Calero County Park in the South Bay

Two hikers taking a break at Lisa's Lookout picnic area at Calero County Park in the South Bay

Calero County Park is located at 21151 McKean Rd., San Jose. Take Almaden Expwy. south to Harry Rd. Turn right onto Harry Rd., then immediately left onto McKean Rd. After 1.5 miles, turn right into the parking lot. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Mountain bikes and leashed dogs are permitted on designated trails. Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Poe Casavant, @PoeCasavant (Twitter)

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