“Undulating trail through shaded valleys of Oak and Eucalyptus that emerges atop high grassy ridges.
— David Deliz
This route is conveniently located close to town but is enshrouded in grassy hills and swaths of trees that engulf the trail, imparting runners with a remote feel and relief from the monotony of city running. At a higher elevation than the surrounding region, this trail offers several challenging climbs to rewarding vantage points that permit sweeping views of the entire south bay.
A part of the final 3rd of the trail (on or near the Parker Ranch Trail
section) is steep, downhill terrain on sometimes loose soil, so wear proper trail shoes with adequate grip. Carry sufficient water to endure the entire run on warmer days as there are sections of this trail unsheltered by trees that expose you long enough to dehydrate you severely and cause heat exhaustion. It is prudent here to begin your run early in the morning when temps are forecasted to be high.
Though the website's trail synopsis claims this route to be 87% runnable it is actually entirely runnable. A couple parts are indeed steep, but with fitness are definitely runnable.
The trail begins directly across from the parking area on singletrack that ascends steeply, twists through the hills and trees and eventually widens to doubletrack. This is the Cora Older Trail
, which emerges at a crossroads where you head right, briefly up steep-ish dirt road. Take the Seven Springs Trail
, which is a very pleasant singletrack on soft, level to slightly downward trending terrain.
Make a right here on Seven Springs Trail
. The shade of the thick trees on this section of the trail provides relief on hot days. Seven Springs Trail
moves swiftly because of the downward grade and your legs can feel like they're going to break away from your torso. Eventually, it brings you to the bottom of a shady valley where there is another intersection. From here, continue through the intersection onto more singletrack that emerges from the protective trees and shade onto a hillside that instantly magnifies sunshine on warmer days and quickly increases elevation, sustaining for a lengthy duration. The grade relieves for a short period as the trail submerges into the trees another time, then surfaces again and steepens carrying you eventually to another juncture against a hill, where you branch slightly rightward from the Seven Springs Trail
onto Woodhills Loop Trail
This trail snakes rightward around the base of the hill then attacks its summit with a very direct and tilting line gaining a cool vista called Hunters Point. Hunters point offers views from the San Francisco Bay all the way to South San Jose.
Descend the back of the hill and turn right at the intersection, continuing onto Hayfield Trail
, which is an uninteresting but short fire road that leads to the park's hub where several trails connect. Stay on the Hayfield Trail
, which trends to the right and eventually gain some elevation leading you to Toyon Trail
, which travels into a eucalyptus timberland.
You're on Toyon Trail
briefly and it pops your onto Bay View Trail
. Bay View is a level and wide trail that leads you past more impressive vistas of not only the sprawling metropolis below, but horse ranches and vineyards, as well. Take the Parker Ranch Trail
, which descends a very serpentine and steep grade on loose terrain and feels like part of an obstacle course. The trail switchbacks frequently, vaulting you from one turn to the next.
The Parker Ranch Trail
eventually deposits you in the neighborhood you passed as you drove to the parking area. As soon as the trail hits the pavement, make a left, then another left, onto Prospect Road. Retrace your drive to the parking area. This last part of the trail, though on pavement, does not detract from the whole experience and is a demanding and invigorating finish to this solid and gratifying run.