Bear Creek Summit 2x

Sat, Mar 14, 2020
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile
previously attempted Sun, Nov 1, 2009

It was forecast to start raining around noon, so I figured I could get this hike in before the rain started and drove me indoors. It drizzled a bit during the hike, but I escaped the brunt of it which didn't begin in earnest until later that afternoon. I had attempted this peak once before a decade earlier, finding the short cross-country effort up from Bear Creek Rd riddled with poison oak and keeping me from reaching the top. Since then, the private land was purchased by the Midpenisula Regional Open Space agency, and what were once private roads are now part of a public trail system. There is no fee to use the park. The trail system starts much lower down, requiring more than six miles roundtrip with 1,600ft of gain. Though there are no views almost anywhere on the trails, they make for an enjoyable hike through second growth redwoods, the ample shade perhaps most beneficial on a warm summer day. Today was heavily overcast and chilly, but with a moderately steep grade going up, I was fine in just a t-shirt. The most interesting feature of the park is a pair of old growth redwoods that can be found about a mile and a half up from the TH. How these two old giants avoided the saw is a bit of a mystery, but it gives one a good feel for how much of the Santa Cruz Mtns once looked 150yrs ago. The summit is called "Madrone Knoll" with the road making a small loop around the highest point. There are no madrones actually within the summit radius, but there are some nice specimens just on the other side of the looping road.

I had actually been to the park a day earlier, when I was joined by Tom for one of our semi-regular hicnics. We had visited the old growth redwoods before returning to the small manmade lake near the parking lot where we had a few bottles of wine to start our picnic. After about half an hour, we struck up a conversation with a pair of gentlemen carrying gear boxes from one of the closed trails. Seems they were doing some noise monitoring for the aircraft that fly over the area. A ranger came by during this discussion, first engaging the two gentlemen who he'd seen come off the forbidden trail. He seemed to take his job pretty seriously and began asking about permits and interagency commmunications and the like. Tom and I kept up our part of the conversation with occasional interjections, prompting the ranger to turn to us briefly and say, "I'll get to you two in a minute." Tom and I looked at each other and sort of shrugged. "I think we're getting a ticket," I whispered, not having any idea what the alcohol laws were for the OSP. After the conversation with the two technicians ended cordially, the ranger turned to give us his full attention, asking "Have you any picnic supplies?" Ha! I knew instantly where that question had come from. The local magistrates for the City of Los Gatos in their infinite wisdom and desire to drink in public themselves, must have had inserted a provision for beer and wine to be consumed in the park with a picnic lunch or dinner. I happily opened my daypack to reveal gouda cheese, pastrami slices, fresh fruit and vegetables, hummus, crackers and dessert, too. I don't know if he was disappointed or not, but the ranger seemed to relax at this, explaining the ordinance that I had already surmised. No ticket today. After a bit more discussion he went on his way while Tom and I finished off our wine and dug into the lunch supplies...

Submit online comments or corrections about the story.

More of Bob's Trip Reports

This page last updated: Sat Mar 14 14:32:55 2020
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: