Bald Peaks
Fern Peak
Coyote Peak P500 NN

Sun, Feb 1, 2009
Bald Peaks
Coyote Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Map Profile
Coyote Peak later climbed Tue, May 2, 2017

With an afternoon to burn, I chose to visit the modest peaks found in (or near) Calero County Park in the southern part of the Santa Clara Valley. Though part of the Santa Cruz Mtns, these hills are on the drier side away from the ocean, and more closely resemble the Diablo Range with oaks, grass, and chapparal hillsides. There are a network of dirt roads masquerading as trails throughout the park that are popular for both foot and horse traffic. There are no bikes allowed, though they are welcome in the adjacent Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Fern Peak is actually in this preserve, though on a portion that is currently closed until made "safe for public use", whatever that might mean. Bald Peak is a series of rounded, grassy bumps along the same ridgeline at the southern end of Calero Park, close to Fern Peak (which likely got its name from the abundance of small ferns growing around the summit).

I started off on the dirt roads, though found they were somewhat convoluted for actually reaching the peaks of interest. They were built to interconnect a series of man-made ponds, probably used for hunting back in the day before it became parklands. I soon found that one can follow the more direct ridgelines up to the highpoint along a series of use trails that cut nicely through the grass. Though forbidden to be used by the park rules, I found them irresistable. They were not only more direct, they were visually more asthetic and offered more solitude. It took about an hour and fifteen minutes to reach the highpoint of Bald Peaks.

From Bald Peaks I followed the dirt road to the park boundary and into the adjacent Open Space Preserve. I had to go around a fence to reach nearby Fern Peak which borders a private road that services a handful of remote residences just west of the preserve. I did not go further along the road leading up to Mt. Chual once I spotted an occupied residence. I was in no mood for trespassing today.

After I returned to the car, I went on an exploratory drive to find a way to the summit of Coyote Peak, a small summit a few miles north of Calero Reservoir. I found a road, Country View Drive, off McKean Road that goes nearly to the summit. A wide and not very old road, it looks to have been part of a project to develop expensive estates on the south side of Coyote Peak. Several completed and occupied homes stood impressively along the road on the way up, but they were only about half a dozen in number. The road is starting to show signs of neglect and I suspect the ambitious housing development went bust when home prices started their precipitious slide.

At the top of the hill the pavement ended about half a mile from the summit. I parked the car and walked the easy distance over rolling terrain to the top, crowned with a few antennae. As I came to find out, there is a Santa Theresa County Park on the north side of the peak with several trails leading to the summit. That certainly would have been a more worthy way to reach the top. Perhaps I'll bring Ryan with me some weekend to reach it from that side.

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This page last updated: Tue Feb 3 10:36:15 2009
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