Jonesing For It

St. Josephs Open Space Preserve Los Gatos South Bay Hike

Tucked just shy of the South Bay’s urban domains, the 270-acre St. Joseph’s Hill Open Space Preserve in Los Gatos isn’t bashful about showcasing great scenery. Go on a 4-mile (round-trip) hike here and get gorgeous vistas of the Lexington Reservoir, the Santa Clara Valley, and the Sierra Azul mountain range. Follow the Jones Trail through Novitiate Park and continue uphill through oak trees and into the mountains, enjoying early spring greenery as you climb above Los Gatos. After about three quarters of a mile, you’ll turn uphill to get on the Novitiate Trail, which becomes increasingly exposed as you go above the treetops. Continue toward Hilltop Vista via the Range Trail and turn onto the Manzanita Trail. You’ll know you’ve crested the mountain when you get to a bench looking out to the Santa Clara Valley (north) and the Santa Cruz Mountains (south). The Manzanita Trail loops back to the Novitiate Trail, where your return trip overlooks Lexington Reservoir.

From CA-17 S, take the exit towards Los Gatos/Saratoga. Merge onto Saratoga Los Gatos Rd., then make a left onto University. Turn left again onto E. Main St., right onto College Ave., then right onto Jones Rd. Park at the end of Jones Rd. for trail entrance. Start the hike in Novitiate Park, which enters St. Joseph’s Hill Preserve and the trails. Photo by dbaron.

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