Related Links:

Visit to the Blair Ranch, 5/9/09

Blair Ranch Trail Map

SCC Open Space Authority

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, 5/16/09

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10

Canada Del Oro and Calero Trail Map

Directions to Canada Del Oro

Santa Clara County Parks

Bay Area Ridge Trail

Ridge Trail Guidebook

Peninsula Open Space Trust

Rancho Canada Del Oro (Pictures by Cait Hutnik)

Bird Count 2006: Rancho Canada Del Oro and Blair Ranch

Morgan Hill Times: Blair Ranch Set to Become Park

Gilroy Dispatch: Local Ranch to Become Park

San Jose Business Journal: County Joins in $8.65M purchase of Morgan Hill ranchland

Mountain Network News: A New Trail, Blair Ranch

Bay Nature Institute: Rancho Canada Del Oro

Park and Trail Pages:

Los Alamitos Creek Trail

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens:

Guadalupe River Trail

Guadalupe Creek Trail

Coyote Creek Trail

Bay Area Biking

Bay Trails, South Bay

Bay Area Parks

Friends of Santa Teresa Park

Almaden Quicksilver Park

Bay Area Back Pages

SF Bay Rec & Travel

Hiking, Event Pictures

Coyote Ridge Wildflowers, 4/13/08

Doan Ranch Hike 11/22/08 Page 1, Page 2

Uvas Canyon Healthy Trails Hike, 2/21/09

Almaden Quicksilver Wildflowers and Views, Spring 2008, Part 2

Healthy Trails Walk, Almaden Quicksilver 3/28/09

Harvey Bear Ranch-Coyote Lake Pictures, 3/10/07, 3/21-21/09, 4/18/09

Calero Healthy Trails Hike, 4/25/09

Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09

Palassou Ridge 6/6/09

Rancho San Vicente, 6/13/09

Mt. Madonna Geocaching Class, 7/11/09

Hellyer HDR Pictures 1/10/10

Almaden Quicksilver Wood Road Geocaching Class 1/16/10

Uvas Canyon HDR Pictures 1/23/10

Joseph D. Grant County Park, 1/31/10

Uvas Canyon Hike, 2/13/10

Santa Teresa Park Pictures:

Santa Teresa Park Mine, Fortini, Stile Ranch Wildflowers, 4/11/08

Coyote Peak, Rocky Ridge Wildflowers, Feb-Apr. '08

Bernal Hill wildflowers and views, Feb-Apr. '08 Part 1, Part 2

Coyote Peak, Rocky Ridge, Feb-April '08

Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Stile, 5/4/08

Outdoor Photography Class/Wildflower Walk, Bernal Ranch/Hill 4/4/09

Geocaching Class, Fortini-Mine-Stile Ranch Trail, 4/11/09

Pre-Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Mine-Stile Ranch Trail, 5/3/09

Healthy Trails Hike, Fortini, Mine, Stile Ranch Trails, 5/9/09

Santa Teresa Sunset Pictures 2/7/10

Blair Ranch Hike, 3/28/10

Barn and corral at the start of the hike

The 865-acre Blair Ranch is one of the newest acquisitions of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. It was a cattle ranch, owned by the Blair family since the 1950's. It was purchased by the Peninsula Open Space Trust in 2008, who transferred it to the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. It was purchased with funding assistance from the Open Space Authority, Santa Clara County Parks,  the California Coastal Conservancy, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Blair family continues to own and live on an adjacent 126-acre parcel and still graze cattle on the rest of the land on a lease basis. The Blair Ranch is adjacent to Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It extends to Uvas Road in the hills behind Morgan Hill and Gilroy. It is not yet ready to be open to the public, but when it is, it will add to the contiguous open space parks of 3100-acre Rancho Canada Del Oro and 3500-acre Calero County Park.

Topo map showing the Blair Ranch on the lower right from Casa Loma Road to Uvas Road, Rancho Canada Del Oro on the upper left, and Calero County Park at the top center.

Closeup of the southern part of the Blair Ranch, where the hike took place. The entrance to the ranch is on Uvas Road, which is on the lower right. It is less than a mile southwest from Chesbro Reservoir and less than a mile northwest of Croy Road, which leads to Uvas Canyon County Park. We took the ranch road a short distance and parked by the barn. The section below the green line is still owned and occupied by the Blair family.

The ranch was open this spring on March 28, 2010. It had been open on May 9, 2009 from the north end off Casa Loma Road for self-guided hikes and equestrian rides. This year, it was open for a guided hike only. This time, the event started from the south end of the property off Uvas Road, near Chesbro Reservoir. SCCOSA Coordinator of Interpretive Programs Teri Rogoway greeted visitors and let them into the normally-locked gate. These are pictures from the hike. It mostly followed ranch roads, some of which were very steep.

The hike was led by docents Bob Cicisly (left) and Woody Collins (right). Plant expert Tom Cochrane (center) identified and described the plants along the way. The hike began by the barn at about 680 feet elevation. The road on the left leads to the property still held by the Blair Family.

After hiking down the ranch road a short distance, we ascended the hill. Cattle were grazing ahead, but they moved as we got near them.

This is a view looking back downhill at the ranch buildings, which may be used as park office buildings when the ranch becomes a park.

We near the top of the hill.The grass has been cut short by grazing cattle.

Looking back to the east, we can see ranch roads, a little bit of Chesbro Reservoir, and El Toro Mountain (center).

We pause briefly for a rest in the shade of oak trees.

Wildflowers here are pink filaree, a yellow johnny jump-up, and blue bi-colored lupines.

Tom points out the flowers, which include white popcornflowers.

We head up the trail, shaded by oak trees.

Woody stops to look at some flowers.

In the clearing above the woods, we see a patch of rocks.

These rocks are a small serpentine out-cropping, where the soil conditions favor certain native wildflowers, like poppies.

The trail runs along the top of the ridge.


View looking south at ranches along Little Uvas Road.

View looking southwest across ranchlands towards Uvas Canyon and the summit of the southern Sierra Azuls. Remnants of the fire along the summit can still be seen.

View more to the west, showing the Sierra Azuls south of Mt. Loma Prieta.

The cattle have cropped the grass short here.

In the distance to the east, we can see Manzanita Ridge, Coyote Ridge, and the Mt. Hamilton Range.

Cattle are grazing below to the west. The round tanks are lick tanks, which can contain vitamins or supplements for the cattle.

We stop and rest by a log on top of a hill.

SCCOSA docent Carolyn Tucker rests on the log.

Across the valley to the east is Manzanita Ridge, which is private ranchland.

Looking east, we can see Chesbro Reservoir, with the sharp peak of El Toro Mountain in Morgan Hill behind it.

Looking west is antenna-topped 3790-foot Mt. Loma Prieta, the highest point in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

To the northwest, we can 3486-foot Mt. Umunhum, in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. The white building on top of the mountain is a decommissioned Air Force radar station.

We reach the high point of the hike at about 1260 feet and begin the descent.

The hill to the left is covered with filaree.

We descend the hill and see large patch of serpentine ahead. It is less green as it is less hospitable to the annual non-native grasses that dominate the clay soils. We skirt around it to the left.

We walk past manzanita bushes filled with berries.

We ascend a steep section of trail. Cattle hoofprints in the soft soil make the footing tricky.

Patch of brilliant yellow goldfields.

This is a steep descent down the hill, lined with yellow California buttercups.

We turn a corner and see bright red Indian paintbrush.

Closeup of Indian paintbrush.

Prickly gooseberry fruit.

Heading down the steep rocky trail, we cross a small creek.

We enter a shady area and cross a dry creek.

We see a large farm pond and cross over the dam and spillway.

The farm pond

The southeast corner of the farm pond, near the spillway.

We ascend the hill on the south side of the farm pond.

We climb up the hill, on the other side of the ridge from our ascent.

We head back along part of our original route. The ranch buildings can be seen below. We take a loop to the left along the ranch boundary.

View down the hill of the ranch barns. There aren't any trails here, but it is like walking across a mowed lawn thanks to the cattle.

We cross over a small creek and head back to the barn at the start of the hike.

DeLorme Topo 8 Maps

This is a GPS Track loaded into DeLorme Topo 8 from a DeLorme PN-30 GPS receiver, showing the route of the hike, which began just off Uvas Road, which is at the lower left. The ascent was on the left side of the loops. The descent was on the right side. The mountains in the background are the Sierra Azuls.

This is a Topo 8 view looking down from the high point of the hike on the right. The ascent was gradual. The descent was very steep along the property boundary on the left side of the loop. On the upper left is Chesbro Reservoir. Morgan Hill is behind the hills in the background.

Google Earth 3-D Images
(Click on the images for bigger pictures.)

This is a Google Earth view looking west, showing Uvas Road and the Blair Ranch Barn at the bottom. The trail route is in blue. Markers show various waypoints along the hike. In the background is the Sierra Azuls, topped by Mt. Loma Prieta. The blue line in the background is the Mayfair Trail in Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve.

Google Earth view looking south, showing the high point of the hike on the right, and waypoints along the return trip along the bottom. In-between the near ridge and the far ridge in the background is Uvas Canyon County Park.

Google Earth view  zooming in on the north part of the hike, showing the steep descents and climbs on the return trip along the bottom. Mt. Loma Prieta is the high peak in the background.

Google Earth view of the Blair  Ranch looking southeast from Casa Loma Road and Rancho Canada Del Oro, whose parking lot is on the lower left. The top of the hill in the middle is at 1524 feet, the high point of Blair Ranch, which was part of last year's hike, which started on Casa Loma Road and followed along the ridge on the right. Today's hiking route and  Uvas Road are in the background. The park will allow trail connections from Uvas Road to Rancho Canada Del Oro.

The Blair Ranch will eventually become part of Rancho Canada Del Oro. It is a key piece in connecting islands of protected parklands and preserves into a continuous belt. The following parks and preserves are either contiguous or very close to each other:

Google Earth View looking southwest, with Blair Ranch at the left center. Parks shown are Uvas Canyon CP, Rancho Canada Del Oro OSP, Calero CP, Rancho San Vicente CP, Santa Teresa CP, Almaden Quicksilver CP, and Sierra Azul OSP.

Google Earth View looking southwest, zoomed out farther, with Blair Ranch near left of center, showing more surrounding parks and trails. 

Created by Ronald Horii, 4/6/10