Cañada Collage

Wildflower and Wildlife Hike at Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve

This 4.3-mile loop through Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve showcases all the highlights of the season. From the main parking lot, head north on Mayfair Ranch Trail. This stretch thrums with wildlife as butterflies and bees flit between the bright purple vetch flowers, and western fence lizards and blue-tailed skinks scurry across the path.

As the trail climbs into the hills, every color of the rainbow is on display: golden buttercups, scarlet pimpernels, baby blue eyes, and fuchsia mallow flowers. As the forest gives way to grassland, Mount Umunhum and Loma Prieta are visible on the western horizon. Just after the route begins to curve toward the north, a small picnic area gives hikers a chance to rest and soak up the scenery.

Ascend the switchbacks and turn right onto Longwall Canyon Trail. This path follows Baldy Ryan Canyon Creek, a picturesque brook that’s perfect for cooling your toes on a warm day. California poppies, purple owl’s clover, and globe lilies add a pop of color to the rocky pathway.

Follow Longwell Canyon Trail until it descends back to the parking lot.

A great way to finish the hike is to check out the nearby Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. There are over 30 wineries on the route, specializing in all the varietals that make the Bay Area’s wine so special: oaky chardonnays, complex cabernets, and fruit-forward pinots. (Or if you’re feeling inspired by all the blossoms, perhaps a floral Riesling.)

Rancho Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve is located at 4289 Casa Loma Rd. in Morgan Hill. Trails are open to cyclists and equestrians. Map. No dogs.

Story and Photos by Heather Werner,

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