Mt. Isabel is the second highest peak in Santa Clara County, located about two
miles south of the highest point, Copernicus Peak. From the latter, Mt Isabel
looks like it could be a bit of a bushwhack, and though I had noticed it some
years ago, never gave it much thought. David A. from SummitPost put up a page
about this peak and what do you know - there's a road going to the top. The
route starts as a trail at the eastern end of Joseph Grant Park, along the Mt.
Hamilton Rd. The Smith Creek Fire Station is immediately adjacent to the TH,
and the first half mile includes a creek crossing (we had to take our shoes off
and walk across) before it ends at private property. The remaining 2.5 miles
passes through private property, following the west ridge up to the summit. My
friend Steve joined me for this easy outing, taking about four hours roundtrip
with a nice rest atop. Skies were overcast, preparing for rain later in the
day, but the temperature was excellent for hiking. The hills were vivid green
with all the recent rains, but only a few tiny wildflowers had begun to emerge.
Overall it was a very enjoyable outing, with good views provided at the summit.
Not unexpectedly, we were the only ones to sign into the register since David
and his friends had placed it a month earlier.
FYI, it looks like most of the Mt. Isabel trail is now in the Sulphur Springs Ranch section of Joseph Grant Park following the 2012 acquisition of the Nolan Ranch. As I understand it, only the very last 1/4 mile of the trail remains outside the park.