Ready to take your camping experience to the next level? Great! Way up in the foothills overlooking the Santa Clara Valley, within eyeshot of hulking Mount Hamilton (4,209 feet), Joseph D. Grant County Park is home to two campgrounds dotted with oaks. Better known for its hiking and mountain biking—surprise!—there are 40 campsites at Joseph D. Grant, including four first-come, first-served options. All you have to do is wind your way up to them! Halls Valley is the first of two small campgrounds you’ll reach. Sites 15 and 16 are first come, first served and set atop a hill partially shaded by oaks.
Views extend across the valley to Mount Hamilton—easily identified by the giant, white Lick Observatory at its summit. While a lot of this area is quite exposed (take note), oaks and other trees provide some shade. Site 18 is sweet for some seclusion, and site 22 is located directly across from Halley Hill, a terrific spot for stargazing. But you’ll need to reserve these in advance. Adjacent to Halls Valley, and a little more rugged (the road here isn’t paved), Snell Campground’s sites 29 and 32 are first come, first served, with the latter offering the most privacy, not to mention more banner views of Mount Hamilton. Those who shy away from sun exposure can head to reserved sites 34 or 35, both generally well shaded in the afternoon.
BONUS STAR PARTIES: Halls Valley’s Halley Hill is the site for monthly Star Parties at Joseph D. Grant County Park. The next one is September 3, 2016.
Sites have food lockers, and there is a bathroom facility. Park office (408) 274-6121. Dog-friendly!