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.
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...