Rainbow Knoll

Tue, Feb 6, 2018
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I'd been back from the most recent desert trip a whole day, having spent Monday catching up on chores and barely getting outside. With unseasonably mild weather in February, it seemed a shame to sit inside, so I went looking for someplace to visit. Poking around peakbagger.com, I found an entirely insignificant summit in the Fremont Older OSP that I had missed on a previous visit. In fact, there were two other even sillier highpoints in the same general area which made for a nice trio to visit on a Bike & Hike™ outing of some 30mi.

Rainbow Knoll

This is the lowest of four minor summits in the Fremont Older OSP. There is a TH at the end of Regnart Rd that can be used to access the peaks, parking for about three cars. I found an even shorter approach off Regnart where I could park a bike (locked to some rusting barbed-wire), but no places to park cars. There is no signage along the road here, really just an entrance for the local residents, but just up from the pavement is a regular TH one might expect in a Mid-Pennisula OSP. The trail (old road) soon opens up to blue skies and some grassy areas among the oak and chaparral in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mtns. New flowers (sour grass, I believe) are out in abundance. With about 30ft of prominence and 700ft of elevation, Rainbow Knoll has open views across the Santa Clara Valley, save for a transmission tower inconveniently located at the edge of the knoll. The hike took all of about 10min to reach the top.

McClellan Ranch HP

McClellan Ranch is a very nice park located along Stevens Creek and the start of the Stevens Creek Trail which runs to the Bay (unfortunately, not continuously) some 8mi to the north. The City of Cupertino (think big $$ from Apple Inc) maintains this nice park with 4-H facilities and all manner of green thumb goodness. The Stevens Creek Trail runs through the park along the creek, through a citrus orchard and by old ranch/farm buildings, well-maintained. VB and bocce ball courts, too, along with lots of picnic areas and semi-secluded benches in scenic settings among the bustle that is Silicon Valley. Sadly, the highpoint is found along a suburban road at the edge of the park.

Rancho San Antonio

This is perhaps the most over-used OSP in the entire South Bay area. Even on weekdays the parking lots are near capacity with hundreds of cars. There are trails all over the place, connecting the park to adjacent public lands, including a strenuous climb up to Black Mtn atop the crest of the Santa Cruz Mtns. It is popular with all manner of folks, including school cross-country teams, radio-controlled aircraft, families (Deer Hollow Farm is a short hike away), runners of all ages and more. I usually avoid this place at all costs. I rode to the start of the Hill Trail where I left my bike to hike the quarter mile distance to the park highpoint. Because of the adjacent public lands that are much higher, it doesn't feel like a highpoint, more like a small knoll like the first summit. There is no maintained trail leading to the highpoint, but there are use trails from the north and west that avoid brush. There is a large, fenced-in water tank at the summit and no views to speak of. Almost as disappointing as the McClellan Ranch HP. Still, a nice way to spend half a day...

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This page last updated: Tue Feb 6 16:28:29 2018
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