Parks, Trails, & Open Space
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve Preserve Map
Bay Area Ridge Trail
Ridge Trail Map, Sierra Azul OSP
Ridge Trail Map, Almaden Quicksilver
Ridge Trail Map, Santa Teresa
Ridge Trail Guidebook
Santa Clara County Parks
New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association
Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Woods Trail/Wood Road Trail Dedications
Los Gatos Creek Trail
Friends of Santa Teresa Park
Santa Teresa Park
Coyote Creek Trail
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve
Henry Coe State Park
Bay Area Back Pages
Bay Area Hiking
SF Bay Rec & Travel
Hikes, Nearby Parks & Events
Rancho San Vicente Wildflower Hikes, 4/3/11, 5/15/11
Rancho San Vicente Photography, Wildflower Hike, April 17, 2010
POST Rancho San Vicente Hike, April 10, 2010
POST Rancho San Vicente Hike, June 13, 2009
Blair Ranch Hike 3/28/10
Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09
Doan Ranch 11/22/08 Page 1, Page 2
Los Alamitos Creek Trail
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens:
Guadalupe River Trail
Guadalupe Creek Trail
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, 5/16/09
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10
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
Mummy Mountain Trail Day and Hike, Coyote Lake, 4/24/10
Harvey Bear Ranch-Coyote Lake Pictures, 3/10/07, 3/21-21/09, 4/18/09
Palassou Ridge 6/6/09
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
Coyote Ridge, 4/18/10
Outdoor photography hike, Mummy Mountain Trail, 4/23/11
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
Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Stile, 5/2/10
Stile Ranch Trail Sunset, 1/29/11
Rainbows, Santa Teresa Park, 1/30/11
Ron Horii's Outdoor Photography Pages:
Outdoor Photo Gallery
HDR Sunset Pictures at Hellyer Park
HDR Pictures at Uvas Canyon
Almaden Quicksilver HDR Pictures
Santa Teresa Pueblo Area HDR Sunset Pictures
HDR Norred Trail Sunset Pictures
Outdoor Photography Class, April 9, 2009
HDR Uvas Canyon Waterfalls
Alviso Marina Sunset Pictures, 11/27/10
California Native Plant Society, Santa Clara Valley
MPROSD: Wildflower Hotspots
Santa Teresa Park Wildflowers, Spring 2002
Santa Teresa Park Wildflowers, 4/11/08
Almaden Quicksilver Wildflowers and Views, Spring 2008
Bay Area Hiker: Wildflowers
Henry Coe Park Wildflowers
Light of Morn: Nature Walks and Photography
Woods Trail Wildflowers, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve,
5/14/11 and 5/21/11, by Ronald Horii
The Woods Trail in 17,000-acre Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve (owned by the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District) begins next to the intersection of Hicks Road and Mt. Umunhum Road on Jacques Ridge, at the summit of the road. The trailhead is on the west side of Hicks Road from the staging area for the Wood Road Trail in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The Woods Trail begins at 1400 feet elevation. It runs for 2.8 miles to Barlow Road, then climbs for 3.7 miles to the ridgeline of the Sierra Azul range to Mt. El Sombroso at 2999 feet, ending at the junction of the Kennedy and Limekiln Trails.
The Woods Trail is not known as a wildflower trail, but it is one of the best. It has a great variety of wildflowers that are close to the trail and are viewable without leaving the trail. The trail is easily accessible and runs mostly flat from Hicks Road to Guadalupe Creek. It follows along an old service road that was used to bring wood from the forests of the Sierra Azul range to the Almaden mercury mines. The road is cut into steep, rocky hillsides. Much of the route is shady. The soil, terrain, and disturbance provided by the road provide an environment that is friendly to wildflowers, but hostile to competing non-native grasses that would normally crowd out the wildflowers.
I hiked the Woods Trail on 5/14/11 and 5/21/11. 5/14/11 was mostly overcast, with the sun coming out late in the afternoon. I followed the Woods Trail up to Barlow Road and went partway up Barlow Road. I used a Canon A720IS compact camera to take pictures on the way up and back. 5/21/11 was clear and sunny all day, but a bit hazy. I took pictures with an Olympus E-510 SLR. I followed the Woods Trail down to Guadalupe Creek. Most of the pictures below were taken on both days and are roughly in geographical order, but not in chronological order. Most of the pictures whose filenames begin with IMG were taken on 5/14 with the compact camera. Those that begin with P521 were taken on 5/21 with the SLR. While lighting conditions on those days were good for wildflowers, they were not too good for landscapes because of overcast and hazy skies and limited visibility. I came back on 5/29, which was a clearer day. I used both my compact and SLR cameras, along with a 40-150 mm zoom lens for my SLR. I walked up to the flat area past Guadalupe Creek in the late afternoon. Those pictures begin with P529 and IMG-1284.
This is the Sierra Azul Trailhead, next to Mt. Umunhum Road. At the trailhead for the Woods Trail is a small parking lot, map board, and pit toilet. This is a small parking lot that fills up quickly. It was full, so I parked at the nearby Wood Road staging area in Almaden Quicksilver County Park, which has a much larger parking lot, and walked over along a short meadow trail with lots of checkerbloom. The Woods Trail was dedicated on Oct. 25, 2003, while the Wood Road Trail in Almaden Quicksilver was dedicated on April 17, 2004. Mt. Umunhum is in the background on the left, topped by the former radar building of the Almaden Air Force Station that once occupied the mountaintop, scanning the skies for enemy aircraft.
Four-spot clarkia near the parking lot.
California poppies are common early in the spring, but these were the only poppies I saw on the trail. They were right behind the mapboard.
View of the Sierra Azul range from near the trailhead.
Ithuriel's spears are a common early spring wildflower. These were still hanging on near the trailhead. There were others on the west side of Guadalupe Creek.
These are rose clover, a non-native introduced from Eurasia as a cover crop.
Tomcat clover, unlike rose clover, is a native California plant.
California wild roses
View of the Los Capitancillos Ridge in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The cut in the hillside on the right is above the Providencia Pond in Almaden Quicksilver. Downtown San Jose is on the left. Mission Peak is in the center.
A banana slug crosses the trail.
The Woods Trail is a wide, hard-surfaced trail that is populate with equestrians, bicyclists, and hikers.
Fairy lanterns, also called globe lilies
Common or showy linanthus
Zigzag or spreading larkspur
Miner's lettuce comes in different shades of green, yellow, and red
Crimson columbine and miner's lettuce
More crimson columbines
Fatleaf false solomon's seal
Miniature lupine (right)
Pacific or hillside pea
Wood mint or hedge nettle
Closeup of hedge nettle
Seedhead of a silverpuff
Closeup of broadleaf lupine flowers
White-pink flowered broadleaf lupines growing next to a moss and fern-covered nook.
Blue-purple flowers of broadleaf lupine
Pink-flowered broadleaf lupine
Redribbons, a type of clarkia
Lots of redribbons
Indian paintbrush on the hill, with Mt. Umunhum in the background.
PG&E power lines arching over the canyon of Guadalupe Creek. The Woods Trail can be seen below the tower on the other side of the canyon.
White blossoms bloom on the cones of a California buckeye tree, with Mt. Umunhum in the background.
Variable checkerspot butterfly on a thistle
Climbing morning glory
View of Guadalupe Reservoir, with hedge nettle in the foreground
Telephoto view of Guadalupe Reservoir, with Almaden Quicksilver County Park behind it, and downtown San Jose in the upper left. Mission Peak, Mt. Allison, and Monument peak above Fremont and Milpitas are at the top right.
This is a further zoom-in view of Guadalupe Reservoir, with the Guadalupe and Mine Hill Trails behind it in Almaden Quicksilver, Hicks Road to the left of it, and Almaden Lake in the upper right corner.
Zoom-in view of Mineta San Jose International Airport on the left to center, HP Pavilion and part of downtown San Jose on the right.
A mixture of elk's clover and young bigleaf maples
More woodland madia
Lots of woodland madia
White plectritis (white flowers)
View of the canyon of Guadalupe Creek, looking towards Almaden Quicksilver County Park on the right.
At this point, before rounding the corner where the trail drops down to Guadalupe Creek, the whole rocky hillside is covered with Pacific stonecrop. (HDR picture)
Pacific stonecrop, moss, and lichens grow on the nearly soilless rocky cliffside
More Pacific stonecrop grow on the bare rocky section of the cliff, while other plants grow higher up where there is soil.
Closeup of Pacific stonecrop
Closeup of Pacific stonecrop and its yellow flowers.
Fernald's irises, Chinese houses. The base of the hillside is covered with Chinese houses.
Closeup of Chinese houses
Down below in the ravine behind this stand of Chinese houses is Guadalupe Creek
Guadalupe Creek here is a mountain stream tumbling over boulders.
The trail is very shady here, with ferns growing on the hillside.
The trail crosses over Guadalupe Creek on a causeway.
The creek flows under the trail through a big pipe. Guadalupe Creek eventually flows into Guadalupe Reservoir.
On the other side of the creek, the trail climbs up the hillside. This is a view looking back across the canyon at the trail near the stonecrops
The trail runs through a stand of eucalyptus trees.
Indian paintbrush are growing on the hill. A group returns from a guided wildflower hike. The group included plant enthusiast Tom Cochrane, who helped me with the wildflower identification on this page.
Phacelia, also called scorpionweed
Looking back at the power lines crossing over the canyon.
Looking back down the trail, the headwaters of Guadalupe Creek are up in the mountain slopes in the background, all part of Sierra Azul OSP.
The trail climbs up to a flat, open area with views east revealing the Los Capitancillos Range and Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
This open flat may have been used as a storage area. It is now covered with coyote brush. A brush rabbit is on the lower left.
Yellow flowers of the invasive non-native broom plant
Fatleaf false soloman's seal
Fremont's star lily
Canyon dudleya growing on a rocky cliffside
Junction of the Woods Trail and Barlow Road (left)
This is a view of the Woods Trail below Mt. Umunhum. The trail wraps around the hill below the mountaintop, then turns to the north to ascend Mt. El Sombroso. I turned around just beyond here and went back to go up Barlow Road. All the pictures below are from Barlow Road.
Red leaves on a coast live oak
Galls on manzanita leaves
California blackberry flowers
Looking down steep Barlow Road, with the Woods Trail climbing Mt. El Sombroso in the background. A ceanothus bush is on the lower left.
Closeup of ceanothus flowers.
Yerba santa flowers
Looking down Barlow Road at about 2000 feet. Barlow Road is a steep trail that climbs up to Mt. Umunhum Road. Sticky monkeyflower bushes are on the right side of the trail.
Looking up at the radar building on the summit of Mt. Umunhum at 3486 feet. While the Open Space District owns the summit of Mt. Umunhum, it is not yet open to the public. Barlow Road can be taken to Mt. Umunhum Road, but the road ends before it gets to the summit of Mt. Umunhum. Plans and efforts are underway to clean up the summit of Mt. Umunhum and open it up to the public. This was as far as I went on 5/14/11. I returned on the Woods Trail to the Hicks Road trailhead.
The Woods Trail is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. If you continue to follow the Bay Area Ridge Trail route west, take the Woods Trail to the Kennedy Trail, and the Priest Rock Trail. The trail ends at Lexington Reservoir County Park on Alma Bridge Road. The Los Gatos Creek Trail and St. Joseph's Hill OSP are nearby. The next segment of the Ridge Trail west starts in Sanborn County Park. To follow the Ridge Trail route east, take the Woods Trail to the Wood Road Trail in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Follow that to the Castillero Trail, Mine Hill Trail, Hacienda Trail, and Virl O. Norton Trail to the Mockingbird Hill Staging Area. Take Mockingbird Hill Lane and McKean Road to the start of the Los Alamitos Creek/Calero Creek Trail, which leads to the Santa Teresa County Park. The Ridge Trail runs along the Stile Ranch, Mine, Pueblo, Hidden Springs, and Coyote Peak Trails in Santa Teresa, ending at Coyote Peak. Farther east, the Ridge Trail route follows the Coyote Creek Trail. See the links on the left side of this page for more trail and wildflower information and pictures.
Created by Ronald Horii, 5/28/11, updated 5/29/11