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)

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.