Hike in Castle Rock State Park (Saratoga Gap Trail – Ridge Trail – Saratoga Gap Trail)

Hike Date: October 4, 2015
5.9 miles, 3.5 hours, 2108 feet

Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park is a place of abundant solitude, wilderness, high cliffs, and sweeping vistas. Unique patterns on weathered sandstone, lush forests, and stream-fed canyons make up the park’s diverse features. – https://www.parks.ca.gov/

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Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve (Ridge Trail – Sunny Jim Trail – Ipiwa Trail – Butano View Trail)

Hike Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015
4.6 miles, 2 hours, 780 feet
(Repeat visits: Sunday, June 19, 2016 || Saturday, June 24, 2017)

This is our second most-favorite-hike from 2015, the first one being at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Even though it was a dull, gloomy, gray day, the panoramic views of the Santa Cruz mountains and the vast expanse of forests that stretched out onto the horizon were spellbinding.

Ipiwa Trail in Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve

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Hike in Big Basin Redwoods State Park || Sunset Trail – Timms Creek Trail – Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

Hike Date: Sunday, September 6, 2015
(Repeat visit: Saturday, July 30, 2016)

Woah! This hike was a killer – the longest (both by distance and time), the toughest (elevation gain of 2,287 feet), and yet our best hike of 2015.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

“ These trees, because of their size and antiquity, were among the natural wonders of the world and should be saved for posterity.” –Andrew P. Hill, 1899 (Source: Big Basin Redwoods State Park official brochure)

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Hike in Stevens Creek County Park || Stevens Creek Tony Look Trail – Stevens Canyon Rd

Hike Date: August 29, 2015

We were quite late to start with the hike – 5:30 P.M.! To add to the delay, we were unable to find a parking spot close to the trailhead; we drove up and down the Stevens Creek Canyon Rd to find a designated parking place. We finally ended up parking on the side of the road just next to the trailhead.

While driving south the first time, we went past the very scenic Stevens Creek Reservoir. We decided to stop here on our second round and enjoy the panoramic views while there was still ample light.

Stevens Creek Reservoir

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Hike in Alum Rock Park (South Rim Trail)

Hike Date: August 16, 2015

Alum Rock Park is a municipal park in east San Jose; in fact, the first one established in California! The park spans from west to east, snug within the Alum Rock Canyon, and at the foothills of the Diablo Range. One can only imagine how any hike starting from the base of a hill would be like.

The South Rim Trail runs along the southern escarpment of the Alum Rock Canyon. The north and south escarpments of the canyon are characteristically different from each other in foliage – one is almost completely devoid of tree cover (North Rim Trail) and the other provides an excellent cover from the harsh summer sun (South Rim Trail).

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Hike in Alum Rock Park (North Rim Trail)

Hike Date: August 1, 2015
4.7 miles, 1.5 hours, 1337 feet

We had paid a leisure visit to the Alum Rock Park in December 2014. At that time, we did not know much about the trail system here. So we had just followed a bunch of other people and strolled on one of the trails that was flanked by a creek. We had been wanting to go back to the Alum Rock Park for some serious hiking, and so we did, in August 2015.

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