The Best Hiking Spots in Saratoga
Saratoga is a popular hiking spot. This information will help you to plan your next trek:
Fremont Older (Regional Open Space)
Approximately 14 miles of trails in Fremont Older Open Space beckon hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists with names such as Seven Springs Loop, Bay View, and Coyote Ridge Trail. Others connect Prospect Road to Regnart Road and Stevens Creek County Park. Hunter’s Point is a 900-foot hilltop with sweeping views of Silicon Valley, joining vistas from Maisie’s Peak and Nob Hill along other parts of the trails. Dogs are welcome on a maximum six-foot leash at all times and waste is bagged and removed from the Open Space.
Parking for about 15 cars is available at the Prospect Road entrance. Additional parking is located in Stevens Creek County Park adjacent to Stevens Canyon Road. (A parking fee may be in effect.) Click here for directions and more information.
Noted San Francisco newspaper editor Fremont Older and his wife Cora owned a portion of the Preserve for 60 years. Their house is now leased to a private party, restored and on the National Register of Historic Places; it is open to the public during group tours scheduled once a year, usually in the springtime.
Castle Rock State Park
The hiking website, Everytrail.com, describes Castle Rock: “With lush woods, gorgeous vistas, challenging trails and remarkable stone formations, Castle Rock State Park is a highlight reel for hiking in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
A Best Hike in Bay Area
This beautiful state park provides some challenging and technical hiking, including one of the Bay Area’s best day hikes, which includes a portion of the Saratoga Gap Trail. Saratoga Gap was one of the few passes to the Pacific and was originally discovered and used by Ohlone Indians.
Castle Rock Trails
Castle Rock’s trails take in stunning views, spectacular and surreal rock formations called tafoni, seasonal waterfalls and a variety of habitats. The park is popular with rock climbers. It’s also the gateway to the Skyline to the Sea trail, which traverses Big Basin State Park and ends at Waddell Creek Beach on the Pacific Coast, a distance of about 30 miles. (When a new trail segment is completed in the next few years, you’ll be able to hike from just outside the town of Saratoga to the ocean.)
Sanborn Skyline County Park
This beautiful county park provides some excellent and rigorous hiking, and connects to Castle Rock State Park via a challenging trail. It’s also the location of Welch Hurst House American Youth Hostel, which is housed in a historic home, built in 1908, that features beautiful redwood and madrone woodwork.
The park features walk-in and family campgrounds. There are also group and individual picnic areas as well as restrooms. Dogs are permitted on leashes no longer than six feet, and waste must be removed.
Bay Area Hiker provides a detailed description of a six mile out-and-back hike.
Sanborn Park is also home to the Sanborn Youth Science Institute, which hosts Family Science Safaris and welcomes students of local schools for science education.
Montalvo Arts Center
Montalvo Arts Center, originally the estate of California’s first US Senator James Phelan, is a lovely setting for walking and casual hiking, especially for families. It comprises 175 acres of woodland hiking trails as well as paths through the estate grounds and gardens. Dogs are welcome only on the two miles of shady canyon trails, which wind through oak and redwood forest. A moderate climb rewards the hiker with a bench and views toward Mission Peak. A highlight of hiking at Montalvo is bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy on the estate’s Great Lawn afterward.
Click here for more information and to download a guide to Montalvo with a map of all trails.
Bay Area Hiker provides a detailed description of hiking at Montalvo.
Parking is free and the grounds are generally open to the public; Montalvo is only closed for private events.
Saratoga City Trails
The City of Saratoga offers a variety of trails that range from a stroll into the area’s agricultural past to a heart-pumping foothill loop that can take hikers all the way to the Fremont Older Open Space. The city trails are dog friendly for leashed pets; owners must pick up waste.