Our Local Natives

Exploring Our Local Wildlands

Santa Clara County is a place of great ecological variety. Following a drop of water from the high peaks of the Diablo Range and Santa Cruz Mountains, we move in permanent creeks from mixed deciduous and evergreen forests through chaparral and redwoods, to the spring creeks of the rolling oak woodlands of the lower foothills, then out through the valley floor to the estuaries of the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay. The student of California’s flora has much to explore.

Consider the following hikes to experience these varied ecotypes:

High Montane

Sierra Azul Open Space: Woods and Mt. Umunhum Trails

Sanborn County Park: Sanborn and John Nicolaus Trails to the summit. Skyline Trail

Uvas Canyon County Park: Knibbs Knob Trail to the summit. Check out the spur to Knibbs Knob.

Henry Coe State Park: Any of the ridge trails, such as Bear Mountain Road, Willow Ridge Road, and Rock House Ridge Trail

Joseph D. Grant County Park: Manzanita Trail, Pala Seca Trail

Monte Bello Open Space: Indian Creek Trail, Black Mountain Trail


Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve, Los Gatos

Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga

Mount Madonna County Park: Ridge Trail

Sanborn County Park: Peterson Trail, Sanborn Trail

Mixed deciduous and evergreen forests (many options)

Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga

St. Joseph Open Space: Jones Trail

Lexington Reservoir County Park: Priest Rock Trail

Sierra Azul Open Space: Kennedy Trail, Woods Trail


St. Joseph Open Space: Manzanita Trail

Lexington Reservoir County Park: Limekiln Trail, Priest Rock Trail

Henry Coe State Park: Chaparral Trail, Manzanita Trail

Mount Madonna County Park: Merry-Go-Round Trail

St. Joseph Open Space: Manzanita Trail

Stevens Creek County Park: Bear Meadow Trail

Oak Woodland

Guadalupe Oak Grove Park

Rancho San Antonio: Rogue Valley Trail

Bay Estuaries

Baylands Nature Preserve: San Francisquito Trail, Adobe Creek Trail

Environmental Education Center Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge: New Chicago Slough Trail