It was a clear day on Sunday
November 2, 2014. On clear days, I think about the view from Coyote
Peak in Santa Teresa County Park. If the air is clear enough, you can
see all the way to Marin County. I've been up to Coyote Peak many times
this year, but it hasn't been quite clear enough to see that far. I was
hoping it would be today, so I headed up there with my new Olympus OMD
E-M10 camera and 42-150 mm telephoto zoom lens.
This is the start of the south leg of the Hidden Springs Trail heading
towards antenna-topped Coyote Peak. Posts are being installed along the
trail for cattle grazing fences. On top of Coyote Peak is a viewing
area with benches. Near the benches is a new sign, which was dedicated
on 10/25/14 (see the links on the left).
This is the flat part of the Hidden Springs Trail. It won't be this
flat for long.
This is looking down the Hidden Springs Trail at the start of the Ridge
Trail on the right.
This is looking up the Hidden Springs Trail just above the Ridge Trail
junction. Note the heavy posts sunk in concrete, indicating a gate may
be here. Construction vehicles have worn tracks up the hill.
Looking back down from the Hidden Springs Trail, Communications Hill
and downtown San Jose can be seen.
The trail levels out at the seasonal stock pond. The fence will cut
through the pond.
This is looking up the Hidden Springs Trail. The fence will be on both
sides of the trail.
This is looking downhill from the Hidden Springs/Coyote Peak Trail
junction. It's clear enough that Mt. Tamalpais can be seen in the
distance, which means San Francisco should be visible.
This is a view looking down the Coyote Peak Trail, where the cattle
fences are on both sides of the trail for a short distance.
From the Coyote Peak Trail, the south end of Tulare Hill can be seen,
which marks the north end of the Coyote Valley.
Looking back down at the junction of the Hidden Springs Trail (left)
and the Coyote Peak Trail (right). At this point, the trail continuing
uphill is the Coyote Peak Trail.
Down below is the junction of the Coyote Peak Trail and the Hidden
From higher up, the Pueblo Day Use Area's parking lot can be seen on
the left. The Muriel Wright Center is on the hill in the center. The
Hidden Springs Trail cuts along the hillside below it.
The Coyote Peak Trail wraps around the hill just below the top of
Coyote Peak. The green buildings on the left belong to IBM's Almaden
Research Center. Bernal Hill is on the right, which is on IBM property.
Looking up towards the top of Coyote Peak, the antenna is on the left.
The viewpoint with the new sign is in the center.
This is the new sign on Coyote Peak. It shows and explains the view on
an exceptionally clear day. Today is clear, but not quite as clear as
on the sign.
People are coming up the Coyote Peak Trail. Behind them is Big Oak
Valley. The Rocky Ridge Trail runs along the ridge on the left. The
following pictures are views from the peak, starting from the southwest.
These twin peaks are the highest points in the Santa Cruz Mountains,
Crystal Peak on the left, Mt. Loma Prieta (the tallest) on the right.
The bare hill below them is in Calero County Park.
The radar tower on Mt. Umunhum provides an unmistakable landmark. Mt.
Umunhum is the fourth highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Below
is the Los Capitancillos Ridge of Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
In the foreground is IBM's Almaden Research Lab. Behind it is the
A wide angle view looking northwest shows the Coyote Peak Trail coming
up the hill below, the Pueblo Area in the center, Bernal Hill on the
upper left, and the west side of the Santa Clara Valley and Peninsula
in the background.
In this telephoto view, the Hwy 85 and 87 interchange is at the right
Below is Oakridge Mall. The black buildings are the Pruneyard Towers.
In this extreme telephoto and cropped view is Hoover Tower at Stanford
In this view, Martial Cottle Park is the open space in the center. Hwy
87 cuts through the two hills above it. Sunnyvale and Mountain View are
in the background.
Hangar One at Moffett Field is at the upper left. Mt. San Bruno and
South San Francisco are above it. The other hangars at Moffett Field
are near the upper right below the Bay.
At the bottom are the homes in the Palmia neighborhood. Martial Cottle
Park is in the middle. Communications Hill is above it.
Zooming in on Communications Hill, the tower of Great America is on the
upper right below the Bay. San Francisco Bay, the Dumbarton Bridge, the
San Francisco, and Mt. Tamalpais are in the background.
The hill in the center is above Oak Hill cemetery and is topped with a
cross. Above it are SAP Pavilion and Mineta San Jose International
Airport. Levi's Stadium
is above the airport. Downtown San Jose is on the right. The eastern
the Bay Bridge is on the upper right. Barely visible on the upper left
is the western span of the Bay Bridge.
This is a closer-in view overlooking the Santa Teresa neighborhood.
Baldwin School is near the lower right. Bernal Intermediate school is
left of center. The HGST plantsite is near the upper right. The Village
Oaks development and Kaiser Permanente are to its left.
Kaiser Permanente is at the bottom, Valley Christian School is on the
hill on the right center, and downtown San Jose is near the top left.
In this zoom-in view, San Jose City Hall's dome and tower are on the
left. The salt piles at Newark are on the upper right, just below the
skyline of downtown Oakland.
In the center is the new Village Oaks development on Cottle Road. This
view will change significantly in the next few months.
Looking to the east above Metcalf Road, the tracks on the hills are at
Motorcycle County Park.
To the south of Motorcycle County Park, at the base of the hills on the
lower right is Field Sports County Park.
The following views were taken from the south side of Coyote Peak, some
from the Coyote Peak Trail below the peak to get a clear view under the
power lines. This is a view looking towards the Coyote Creek Golf
Course. Hwy 101 runs below Coyote Ridge.
Above the Coyote Creek Golf Course is the Kirby Canyon Landfill on
Coyote Ridge. The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority manages some
of the land on Coyote Ridge, which has spectacular spring wildflower
displays and has the world's largest population of threatened Bay
The hills below belong to IBM, whose Silicon Valley Lab is hidden
behind the hills to the right of center. They lease the land out for
Hwy 101 runs along the base of Coyote Ridge. Below it are the ponds
along the Coyote Creek Trail.
Looking over Morgan Hill, the homes on the hills on the left overlook
Anderson Reservoir. The taller hills in the background are part of
Henry Coe State Park.
Looking south across San Martin and Gilroy, the hills of Coyote
Lake/Harvey Ranch County Park are on the right.
This is the west side of the Coyote Valley. Most of the hills are
private, but in the middle is Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. The
tall peak at the end of the hills is El Toro Mountain in Morgan Hill.
This is a zoom-in at the southwest end of the Coyote Valley. Morgan
Hill is beyond. Mummy Mountain in Coyote Lake/Harvey Bear County Park
is on the upper left.
This is a zoom-in looking towards El Toro Mountain.
Near the start of the Rocky Ridge Trail, this is a view looking down
Big Oak Valley towards IBM's lab and the Almaden Valley.
From the start of the Rocky Ridge Trail, this is a view of the private
in-holding in the middle of Rocky Ridge. (The Rocky Ridge Trail does
not actually run over Rocky Ridge.)
This is looking back from the Rocky Ridge Trail junction at the Coyote
Peak Trail leading to Coyote Peak.
There is a new bench at the Rocky Ridge Trailhead. It is a memorial
bench. There's a small plaque on it in memory of Thomas Bryan Pao, Sr.,
6-3-1958 ~ 8-6-2013.
Downtown San Jose can be seen from the Rocky Ridge bench.
The following are views of the Rocky Ridge Trail. This part of the
trail should be lined with wildflowers in the spring, assuming it rains.
Across Big Oak Valley is the actual Rocky Ridge.
Rock piles by the Rocky Ridge Trail.
What looks like a trail near the Rocky Ridge Trail is actually an old
ranch road that leads to a private ranch at the end of Shillingsburg
The trail runs through an old fence, which follows an even older rock
The South Almaden Valley comes into view. Below the hills on the right
is the trailhead for the Stile Ranch and Fortini Trails.
There is a big lone multi-trunked bay laurel tree here.
The Rocky Ridge Trail becomes a very rocky ridgetrail here.
The trail gets even rockier.
Across Big Oak Valley is Rocky Ridge. There's a construction road
leading up the hill for fence construction. The old trail runs along
the base of the hill, but it is now closed.
Down below, at the end of Rocky Ridge, is the end of the Rocky Ridge
Trail. Part of the Mine Trail parallels the Rocky Ridge Trail on the
other side of the creek. The Mine Trail starts at the Pueblo Day Use
Area in the background.
Looking towards Bernal Hill, the Fortini Trail is running horizontally
below. The Mine Trail is going up the hill and continues on the other
side of the hill, heading to the right. It meets the Stile Ranch Trail,
which runs to the left.
The still-rocky Rocky Ridge Trail heads into Big Oak Valley.
New fence construction on the hill follows an old fence.
These are new fence posts heading downhill.
At this seep on the hill is a coffeeberry tree surrounded by rare hoita
strobilina, also called Loma Prieta leatherroot.
The hill runs level along the hillside through clay soils, which tend
to get muddy in the rainy season.
The trail switches back and heads out of Big Oak Valley. The trail used
to cross the creek on the right over a small wooden bridge. Then it
made a steep ascent through serpentine rocks and came downhill again.
This route and the bridge have been eliminated. A new section of trail
continues level above the creek.
The trail comes down and crosses the creek on a new bridge.
This is the new trail bridge. The old closed trail section is on the
right after the bridge.
The Rocky Ridge Trail now runs on the east side of the creek. The new
fence is going up above it at the base of Rocky Ridge. The Rocky Ridge
Trail ends at the Mine Trail.
The Mine Trail ends here at the Pueblo Area. The new fence cuts through
the old corral.
The moon rises over Rocky Ridge.