Before Hearst Castle there was Villa Montalvo, a 175-acre estate tucked in the hills outside Saratoga and built for one of the Bay Area’s wealthiest and most prominent bachelors, U.S. senator James Phelan. He went big! Montalvo’s expansive grounds include gardens, forests, and a few miles of hiking trails winding up and down and all around the canyon.
The Lookout Point hike makes a nice 1.5-mile ramble with a marquee vista of Silicon Valley and all the way to Mission Peak. Starting on Lookout Trail, it’s a steady ascent past madrone trees and into a grove of lofty redwoods. Continue on and follow sign posts for Lookout Point. The redwoods give way to a chaparral environment and spectacular unobstructed views of the valley that you can relax and enjoy by taking advantage of benches along the trail. Return the way you came.
Villa Montalvo’s trails are managed by Santa Clara County Parks. From Hwy. 9, turn onto Montalvo Rd. Continue 1 mile past a residential neighborhood to the Montalvo grounds. Drive through the entrance gate, following signs past Parking Lots 1, 2, and 3 until you reach Parking Lot 4, the designated parking lot for hikers. Take the trailhead for Lookout Trail. Trails are dog-friendly!