Lake Tahoe: Road Trip from San Jose

Ski Run Marina

Lake Tahoe is all about beaches. Well, mostly! All you need to do is park yourself at one of them and you’re set for the day/afternoon/evening. In summer months, as everyone flocks to the cool waters of the lake, all beaches and Vista points close to water can get pretty crowded and it can become nearly impossible to get an official/decent parking spot. Some folks do manage to park on the side of the highway and walk miles with their entire beach gear (tents, chairs, food) to their spot of choosing. Probably best to visit Lake Tahoe in an off season to steer clear of the crowd.

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Castle Rock State Park, Saratoga Gap Trail

Location: Los Gatos, Santa Clara County
Hike Date: 2017, June 10, Saturday
Hike Stats
: 5.4 miles, 4 hours, 1700 feet

Previous Visit: 2015, October 4, Sunday

One of the Sandstone Outcrops on the Saratoga Gap Trail

Exquisite sandstone formations and sculpted caves are among the treasured features within this park’s vast wilderness.


For my previous trip to this state park in 2015, check out this post.
For other trails in Castle Rock State Park, check out this post on Skyline to the Sea Trail.

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Castle Rock State Park

Location: Los Gatos, Santa Clara County
Hike Date: 2015, October 4
Hike Stats
: 5.9 miles, 3.5 hours, 2108 feet elevation gain

Repeat Visit: 2017, June 10

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, La Honda, Southern San Mateo County

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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Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Location: Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz County
Hike Date
: 2015, September 6, Sunday
* 8.7 miles, 3.5 hours, 2287 feet
* Dool Trail Sunset Trail – Timms Creek Trail – Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

Repeat Visit
: 2016, July 30, Saturday (Sleep Late and Hike Meetup)
* 9.5 miles, 5.5 hours
* Berry Creek Falls Loop: Dool Trail – Sunset Trail – Berry Creek Falls Trail – Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail – Sunset Trail – Dool Trail

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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Stevens Creek County Park

Location: Cupertino, Santa Clara County
Hike Date: 2015, August 29

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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We finally made it to Twin Peaks!

Trip Date: 14 February, 2016

We finally made it to the much sought-after Twin Peaks in the most unplanned way. We’ve always been very skeptical about a) driving through the San Francisco city and b) finding a parking spot in the city. So Twin Peaks, which are right in the middle of the city, have always been one of those elusive spots that one can only drive to but seemed inaccessible because of the petty parking problems. After all, the satellite map showed only a handful of legit parking spots between the two peaks.

On top of one of the Twin Peaks

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