You’re in the South Bay, you have time for only a short hike, and early fall colors are a bonus. Oak-ey dokey! Head to Guadalupe Oak Grove Park and circle it in a mile-long hike with decadent views. As its name suggests, you’ll pass through stretches of oak woodlands. The trails aren’t clearly marked, so to get the views from the main entrance parking lot, follow the trail to the right, uphill. It’s the steepest climb you’ll have; then the hard work is done. A bench at the apex looks out to the Santa Cruz Mountains, including Mount Umunhum to the south.
Continuing on the same path downhill, enjoy views of the surrounding Almaden neighborhood. A second gentle uphill stretch under the partial shade of the oak trees leads to another bench, and views across the park out to the mountains. Take in all the green, brown, and gold colors—early hints of autumn. Follow the stepped trail down, stopping to look at the sandstone quarries before continuing along the perimeter trail for a full 1-mile circle of the park.
From Almaden Expwy. south of Hwy. 85, take McAbee Rd. west and then go right onto Thorntree Dr. Parking is free. (The south end of the park is bordered by Jeffrey Fontana Park, which has a dog park and playground.) Dog-friendly!