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, @heath.er.wer.ner

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Cañada Collage

    This 4.3-mile loop through Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve showcases all the highlights of the season, thrumming with wildlife and wildflowers.

    View
  2. The Beauty of Bainbridge Island

    You know a place is special when locals head to it for their in-state vacations. Follow the lead of Seattleites and venture to beautiful Bainbridge Island in the heart of Puget Sound on the Kitsap Peninsula. Hike the Grand Forest here, meet Pia the Peacekeeper, and enjoy tasty food and drinks.

    View
  3. Little Norway

    There aren’t many small towns in America that look and feel like Europe, but Washington State sure seems to have a few! Lesser known among them is Poulsbo on the Kitsap Peninsula. Dubbed “Little Norway,” this hamlet on the waterfront of Liberty Bay is charmed with Scandinavian influence.  

    View
  4. old church on Monterey Path of History

    Path of History Walk (+ Food Bonuses)

    Monterey’s 2-mile yellow tiled, multilingual Path of History is a do-it-yourself stroll among some of the area’s most interesting, beautiful, and culturally significant sites, including through the Old Town, past Mexican-era adobes, and to the beautiful Royal Presidio Chapel.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    A Very Bavarian Spring

    Ready to change up your spring scenery? Pack your bags for this alpine adventure in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains. The Bavarian-style hamlet of Leavenworth could be a stand-in for a mountain village in Europe.

    View
  2. Be Dune-spired!

    There’s only one urban park on the planet that helped inspire a major theme in Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi book, Dune. Herbert was born and raised in Tacoma, and Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park is named in honor of his famous novel—a tribute to one of the book’s main ideas ...

    View
  3. Go Big in Bremerton

    Make your way to the largest city on the Kitsap Peninsula, Bremerton. Best known for its naval and maritime heritage, there’s also plenty of outdoors to explore, including a hidden treasure within the Puget Sound Basin: the Keta Legacy Foundation Rhododendron Preserve.

    View
  4. Dume in Bloom

    During wildflower season, nature puts on a spectacular show, and one the best places to see it is at Point Dume Natural Preserve in Malibu. 

    View