Sierra Vista & Alum Rock Park Links:
Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve
Sierra Vista Map
Directions to Sierra Vista
Meetup.com pictures, Sierra Vista Opening
Sam Drake's Pictures, Sierra Vista Hike 10/22/11
Ellen Finch's Pictures, Sierra Vista Hike 10/22/11
Calipidder Blog Sierra Vista
Youtube: Top of Boccardo Trail
mnn.net: the Boccardo Loop
Trail Roller: Alum Rock/Sierra Vista
Trip Report: Alum Rock to Boccardo Trail
Morgan Hill Times: Going Up at Sierra Vista
Everytrail: North Rim to Boccardo Trail
Everytrail: Boccardo Loop Trail
Everytrail: Alum Rock Park
Boccardo Loop Trail, 8/14/10
Alum Rock Regional Park
Alum Rock Park Map
Alum Rock Park History
Wikipedia: Alum Rock Park
Coastal Convervancy: Sierra Vista Construction
Mercury News article on Sierra Vista
SF Examiner: Sierra Vista Trail Opening
Bay Nature: Going Wild Again at Alum Rock
Bike Ride Profile: Alum Rock Peak
Panoramio: Sierra Vista
Flickr: Sierra Vista
Flickr: Boccardo Peak - Bird-eye's View
Flickr: Alum Rock Park - KQED QUEST
NASA: Alum Rock Park
Video: Geocaching Alum Rock Park
SCC Open Space Authority
Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve
Coyote Ridge Wildflowers, 4/13/08
Coyote Ridge Wildflower Walks 4/18/10 and 4/3/10
Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09
Blair Ranch Hike 3/28/10
Doan Ranch Page 1, Page 2
Palassou Open Space Preserve Hike, 6/6/09
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, 5/16/09
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10
Rancho Canada Del Oro (Pictures by Cait Hutnik)
Bird Count 2006: Rancho Canada Del Oro and Blair Ranch
Bay Nature Institute: Rancho Canada Del Oro
Bay Area Ridge Trail Links:
Bay Area Ridge Trail
Bay Area Ridge Trail Council's Facebook Page
Facebook, Goal:Hiking the Entire Bay Area Ridge Trail
Ridge Trail Guidebook
Ridge Trail, Sierra Vista map
Ridge Trail: Alum Rock and Boccardo Trail
KQED Quest on the Bay Area Ridge Trail
Mercury News: Santa Clara County: Lots of Trail, Lots of Gaps
Other Park and Trail Pages:
Santa Clara County Parks
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens:
Guadalupe River Trail
Guadalupe Creek Trail
Coyote Creek Trail
Bay Area Biking
Los Alamitos Creek Trail
Bay Trails, South Bay
Bay Area Parks
Friends of Santa Teresa Park
Almaden Quicksilver Park
SF Bay Rec & Travel
Calero Healthy Trails Hike, 4/25/09
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
Joseph D. Grant County Park 1/31/10
Ed Levin County Park, Monument Peak Trail 3/3/09
The Penitencia Creek Trail
Penitencia Creek Trail, Bay Area Ridge Trail Dedication, 10/25/08
Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve Trail Dedication 10/22/11
The Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve is a property of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (SCCOSA). It is made up of 1676 acres of steep hills in the foothills east of San Jose and above Alum Rock Regional Park. The 3-mile Boccardo Loop Trail leads to the 1896-foot summit of the hills. In 2011, 6 more miles of trails were opened to the public, connecting to the Boccardo Loop Trail and following the ridge tops that surround the City of San Jose's 720-acre Alum Rock Regional Park. The access to Sierra Vista is normally through Alum Rock Park, but for this day only, the public was allowed to enter the park from Sierra Road, above most of the preserve and high above Alum Rock Park. Sierra Vista was purchased by the SCCOSA, with help from the California Coastal Conservancy and the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The trails are part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which follows along the hilltops around the Bay Area, with 330 out of the proposed 550+ miles of trail already in place.
For this event only, the gate on Sierra Road was open, allowing a limited number of visitors to park near the start of the Sierra Vista trails. The gate is at about 2,000 feet, so it is higher than most of the trails. Alum Rock Park, the normal access point for the trails, starts at about 600 feet, so starting from Sierra Road provides a much easier access to the trails. In a few years, this may become a staging area.
Setting up information booths.
This is Sierra Road. The SCCOSA owns property on both sides of the road, but only the land on the right side of the road is open to the public so far.
Chairs and a podium are being setup on the hill below where the opening ceremony speeches will be given. In the background is the city of San Jose.
Another view of the speech area, with downtown San Jose in the background.
As seen from a vantage point near Sierra Road, this is a view of the western intersection of the Calaveras Fault Trail going up the hill and the Sierra Vista Trail running level along the side of the hill.
The Open Space Authority and Bay Area Ridge Trail Council have booths setup on the hill, with downtown San Jose in the background.
Kitty Monahan (left) sets up animals pictures for kids to spot with binoculars, with help from Vince Oros (center), while Teri Rogoway, SCCOSA Coordinator of Interpretive Programs (right), looks on.
Earlybird bikers test out the new Sierra Vista Trail.
Bikers continue on the Sierra Vista Trail. Near the upper right of center on the bald-topped hills is where the trails end, at the Vista Point at the end of the Calaveras Fault Trail.
Kitty Monahan (left) and Garnetta Annable (right). Kitty is on the SCCOSA's Citizen's Advisory Committee, representing trails. Garnetta is SCCOSA's District 4 Director.
Visitors parked at Piedmont Hills High School and were bused up to the top of the hill. San Jose Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman Mike Flaugher (left) greets visitors.
The Open Space Authority and Bay Area Ridge Trail booths were setup on the hill. Lake Cunningham Park is in the background.
Visitors admire the view, with Alum Rock Falls Road crossing the hill in the background.
View of the newly cut Sierra Vista Trail on the right, with the Boccardo Loop Trail ascending the hill on the left.
An old rock wall crosses the Sierra Ridge Trail
Guests visit the booths.
At the SCCOSA's booth, docent Paul Billig points out Sierra Vista on the agency's property map.
Steve Corelis provides activities for kids at the SCCOSA's booth.
Displays at the SCCOSA's booth.
At the Bay Area Ridge Trail's booth, Volunteer Coordinator Joel Gartland (center in the white hat) answers questions from visitors.
Guests head down the hill to listen to listen to speeches.
A large audience assembles to listen to the speeches.
SCCOSA General Manager, Andrea MacKenzie
Bay Area Ridge Trail Council Executive Director Janet McBride
Matt Gerhart from the Coastal Conservancy, which helped fund Sierra Vista.
Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, who biked up the hill.
California Assemblymember Jim Beall, representing the 24th Assembly District, which includes San Jose.
San Jose City Councilmember Nora Campos, who represents District 5 in East San Jose, which includes Alum Rock Park and Sierra Vista.
Roberta Gonzalez, KPIX-TV meteorologist
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed
Dana Litwin, SCCOSA Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, planned the event. Here she invites the guests to come to the ribbon-cutting for the new trail.
After the speeches, the group makes its way down to the trailhead.
VIP's and kids gather at the ribbon-cutting ceremony near the trailhead.
Dana Litwin gives the signal to cut the ribbon.
Cutting the ribbon.
The first bicyclists head up the trail. SCCOSA District 1 Director Alex Kennett on the right looks on.
Bikes and hikers head up the start of the new Sierra Vista Trail.
Hikers and bikers head up to the trailhead. In the background is the spur trail leading up to the viewpoint at the high point of the Boccardo Loop Trail.
Down below from the start of the Sierra Vista Trail, the Boccardo Loop Trail can be seen climbing up the hill from Alum Rock Park.
The trail crosses an old rock wall
SCCOSA District 2 Director Jim Foran looks at the old rock wall by the trail.
This portion of the trail is cut into a steep hillside above Alum Rock Park.
This is a view looking back. The developed part of Alum Rock Park is at the bottom of the canyon. The South Rim Trail and Switchback Trail climb the hillside on the left. The Boccardo Hill Loop Trail is on the far right.
Alum Rock Falls Road climbs the hill on the right. The road and hill are private property. Behind the hill is Upper Penitencia Creek, which originates on Poverty Ridge in the Diablo Range, flows into Cherry Flat Reservoir, and then into Alum Rock Park, where it is joined by Arroyo Aguague Creek.
The trail makes a sharp bend. A small fence prevents trail users from going off the trail.
The trail begins to descend the hill on switchbacks, entering a small grove of scattered oak trees.
This view looking back shows the steep hillside above Alum Rock Park. The road below is Alum Rock Falls Road, which becomes a private road after it leaves the developed part of Alum Rock Park.
Down below, the trail crosses over a bridge (behind the tree in the center). On the far right, the Sierra Vista Trail reaches a trail junction with the Calaveras Fault Trail, which climbs the hill on the right. Sierra Road runs just below the hilltops in the background.
Looking to the right from the same viewpoint as above, the Calaveras Fault Trail climbs to the top of the hill, approaching Sierra Road, while the Sierra Vista Trail runs nearly level across the hill to the right.
A group led by docent Paul Billig arrives at the switchbacks.
The switchbacks are shaded by oak trees.
Down below, the Sierra Vista Trail crosses over a bridge whose supports are made of fiberglass.
View of the Sierra Vista Trail.
As the Sierra Vista Trail rounds a bend, a herd of cattle grazes near the trail.
The cattle, which are of the long-horned Corriente breed, are used to control vegetation.
This a view looking to the right. The Sierra Vista Trail turns back to the left near the power tower, then meets the Calaveras Fault Trail on the other side. The Calaveras Fault Trail eventually climbs up to the top of the hills on the right. The road on the hillside in the background to the right of center is private Alum Rock Falls Road.
Looking south, left of center is the canyon of Arroyo Aguague Creek, whose headwaters are in Joseph D. Grant County Park. Arroyo Aguague Creek is between the Hayward and Calaveras earthquake faults. The Calaveras Fault Trail drops down the hill on the left, crosses Alum Rock Falls Road, then begins a long steep climb to the top of the hill with the lone tree, on the left side of the canyon. Note: this was the turn-around point. The pictures below are from the return trip.
Looking back along the Sierra Vista Trail. Sierra Road runs along the crest of the hills in the background. The Sierra Vista Trail cuts mid-way across the hills, then ascends on the switchbacks among the trees on the left.
This cattle gate is near the junction of the Sierra Vista and Calaveras Fault Trails. Along top of the ridge is Sierra Road. The steep ranch road on the right coming down from Sierra Road is not a trail.
In this telephoto view from the Sierra Vista Trail, the Calaveras Fault Trail is not easily seen, but it climbs to the top of the hill in the center.
Looking back across the fiberglass bridge.
Heading back up the shady switchbacks.
A group of hikers heads back along the steep-sided part of the Sierra Vista Trail.
Near the end of the Sierra Vista Trail, looking down at the Boccardo Loop Trail.
This is a view from the trail leading to the viewpoint on the summit of the Boccardo Loop Trail. The Sierra Vista Trailhead leads upwards right of center. The trail leading up the hill to the left will normally be closed. The Boccardo Loop Trail itself runs along the bottom. The ribbon-cutting ceremonies were at the junction at the bottom.
View from the top of the Boccardo Loop Trail, looking towards South San Jose.
Looking back from the viewpoint, in the distance at top center is Mt. Hamilton and the buildings of Lick Observatory. A little below to the right is the vista point at the end of the Calaveras Fault Trail. The trail runs along the top of the ridge that runs down the center from right to left.
Hikers coming back on the Sierra Vista Trail.
Looking back down from the summit of the Boccardo Loop Trail, the temporary staging area off Sierra Road is on the upper left. A truck picks up the chairs from the area on the right where the speeches were given.
Google Earth Tracks
The 3D images below are from Google Earth. A GPS track, taken by Sam Drake, is superimposed on the satellite images in red. It shows the dedication ceremony site, the Sierra Vista Trail up to the junction of the Calaveras Fault Trail, then the Calaveras Fault Trail all the way to its end. Each of the pictures below is a thumbnail. Click on them for a full-size image.This is a view from above the end of the Calaveras Fault Trail, looking at the trail making a steady rise following along the top of the ridge between Alum Rock Falls Road to its right and the canyon of Arroyo Aguague to its left. In the distance is the Sierra Vista Trail and the dedication ceremony site. To the left of that is the Boccardo Hill Loop. The Boccardo Hill Loop Trail is a long, steady climb. The Sierra Vista Trail is relatively level. The Calaveras Fault Trail has elevation changes of about -900 feet and +1100 feet over its length, with steep sections. Hiking the entire trail is an all-day effort. It requires careful planning, being in good condition, and bringing lots of water.
This shows the Sierra Vista trails relative to Alum Rock Park, which runs along the bottom of the canyon and partway up the sides. Sierra Vista OSP is above Alum Rock Park and wraps around it.
This shows the Boccardo Hill Loop Trail leading to the top of the hill to the left of the new Sierra Vista Trail. The switchbacks lower down on the hill are Alum Rock Park's Todd Quick Trail. The North Rim Trail runs along the lower part of the hillside. The developed picnic areas of Alum Rock Park are on the valley floor. Alum Rock Falls Road leaves the valley floor and becomes a private road, running along the north rim of the canyon.
This shows the eastern side of the Boccardo Hill Loop Trail switchbacking up the hillside to the viewpoint on top of the hill to the left of center. The dedication ceremony site is on the upper right. The start of the Sierra Vista Trail is where it meets the Boccardo HIll Loop Trail in the center.
This is a view of the back side of the Boccardo Loop Trail ascending to the viewpoint to the left of center. The Sierra Vista Trail begins to the left of it. In the distance to the right of center is the south rim of Alum Rock Park. The South Rim Trail and Switchback Trail run up that hillside.
This is a view close to the start of the Sierra Vista Trail. Sierra Road is on the left. Alum Rock Park is below on the right. Alum Rock Falls Road is in white, running lower down the canyon and going around the hill in the center. Far in the distance is the Calaveras Fault Trail, seen going down the hill to meet with Alum Rock Falls Road, then climbing up the ridge on the right. To the right of it is the canyon of Arroyo Aguague Creek.
This is a view from the junction of the Calaveras Fault Trail, which runs off to the bottom right, and the Sierra Vista Trail, which comes in from the bottom center and goes off into the distance. At the top right is the dedication ceremony site by Sierra Road.
This shows the start of the Calaveras Fault Trail, which runs from its start at the junction with the Sierra Vista Trail, left of center, rises up and almost meets Sierra Road, then comes down the hill in a series of switchbacks. It runs along Alum Rock Falls Road for a short distance, then branches off it at the bottom, left of center.
This is a view looking towards the confluence of Penitencia Creek on the left and Arroyo Aguague Creek on the right. Alum Rock Falls Road is on the left. The Calaveras Fault Trail goes down Alum Rock Falls partway, then makes a long climbs up the ridge on the right. On the lower right is the south rim of Alum Rock Park.
Panorama of Sierra Vista
This panorama of Sierra Vista was taken from Crothers Road, above the south rim of Alum Rock Park. This is a thumbnail. Click on it for a full-resolution version. It was made from four separate pictures taken on 11/6/11 with a handheld compact camera. Eagle Rock is on the far left. The Eagle Rock Ranch is next to it. Alum Rock is near the bottom, left of center. The peak near the center is the high point of the Boccardo Loop Trail. The new Sierra Vista Trail runs just below the ridgeline to the right of center. The light-colored hill near the right edge is cut by the Sierra Vista Trail, near the start of the Calaveras Fault Trail. If look at the full-resolution image, you can see the trails. The North Rim Trail runs below Eagle Rock. It connects to the Todd Quick Trail, which switchbacks up the hill. The lower part of the Boccardo Loop Trail can be seen cutting across the hill, midway up. The trails to the top of the hill are behind it, so can't be seen.
Pictures From Alum Rock Park, 11/6/11
View from Alum Rock Park at the junction of the North Rim Trail and Eagle Rock Trail, with the hills of Sierra Vista in the background.
This a view of Sierra Vista from Alum Rock Park, next to the Eagle Rock Ranch.
View of Eagle Rock at sunset, taken from the North Rim Trail (handheld HDR shot, taken with a compact camera, combination of 3 pictures with different exposures).
Note that since Sierra Vista can only be accessed through Alum Rock Park, it is subject to access rules for Alum Rock Park, which is closed on Mondays.
Created by Ronald Horii, 11/11/11