Here’s a hike that takes you high and burns your thighs! Yep, there’s nothing like climbing a mountain to start the New Year. Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve offers 24 miles of beautiful trails, but the most challenging (and rewarding) way to experience it is by hiking up Black Mountain as part of an 8.3-mile loop.
Starting on the PG&E Trail you’ll ascend 1,600 feet following a path of electrical towers. All in, it’s a hefty 3.7-mile climb, passing through oaks and chaparral, and finishing at Vista Point Peak, where you can take a seat on a bench and take in the sweeping views of the Santa Clara Valley and Diablo Range. You’ve made it through the challenging part.
To descend, follow Upper High Meadow Trail, winding gently down the mountain to High Meadow Trail then following signs toward Deer Hollow Farm. This final and easygoing stretch on the Lower Meadow Trail takes you past a working farm and its inhabitants—several pigs, sheep, and goats.
From I-280 (north or south), take the Foothill Blvd. exit and proceed south on Foothill Blvd. approximately 0.2 mile to Cristo Rey Dr. Turn right on Cristo Rey, continue for about 1 mile, veer right around the traffic circle, and turn left into the County Park entrance. Parking is free. NOTE: If you park in the main lot by the restrooms, you’ll have to follow the dirt path, not the bridge, to get to the trailhead. No dogs.