Sierra Vista Surprise

Hike Sierra Vista Open Preserve

Urbanized landscape can sometimes blend beautifully with wide-open spaces. It’s all about perspective. And San Jose's Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve provides it! Get unobstructed views of the Santa Clara Valley and all the way across the bay on a 4.2-mile (round-trip) partial loop hike. The trail is steep and exposed, so don't do this hike in mid-afternoon heat. This is a reverse hike as well, with the first half as a descent. Take your time because the downhill section is where you get the best views. Combine the Kestrel and Sierra Vista trails before reaching the Boccardo Loop Trail. The entire first half brings beautiful views as you pass through grasslands and oak woodlands, taking in views of San Jose, Mount Hamilton, and—on clear days—San Francisco. The return trip uphill is a thigh-burner, but the views are definitely better than what you'll get on a Stairmaster.

BONUS SUNRISE HIKE: This Saturday (July 11), check out the preserve at sunrise. Meet at Sierra Vista in the parking lot and go on a guided sunrise hike along the brand new 1.2-mile Aquila Trail. Arrive at 6:00 a.m. if you want to take photos of the sunrise, and arrive by 6:45 a.m. if you just want to do the hike. An enthusiastic guide named Teri will be in the parking area.

From I-680, exit east on Berryessa Rd. Take a left on Piedmont Rd., then a right on Sierra Rd. and follow it to the top, where you'll find free parking. Trail map at the parking lot. Start on Kestrel Trail and in  a quarter mile you'll reach Sierra Vista Trail. Follow it for half a mile to the Boccardo Loop Trail. NOTE: There are no water sources or restrooms within the Preserve. No dogs.

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