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A climb to the summit of St. Joseph's Hill.

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1,241' 378 m


963' 293 m


286' 87 m


158' 48 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers

St. Joseph's Hill Preserve is open 1/2 an hour before sunrise to 1/2 an hour after sunset.


The Manzanita Trail is an extension of the Novitiate Trail in the St. Joseph's Hill Preserve. Take the Jones Trail from one of the parking areas to the Novitiate Trail, and then continue on that trail for roughly .5 mile where the trail meets up with the Manzanita Trail, which goes off to the right.

The trail remains level for the first .2 of a mile before it climbs quickly uphill and levels out again. Views of the surrounding hills and Lexington Reservoir spread out on the righthand side of the trail. Wildflowers and flowering bushes line the left side of the trail. The trail is a mix of dirt and gravel and remains wide as it climbs toward the summit of St. Joseph's Hill. Take an opportunity to enjoy the views as the trail climbs up the hillside. At .4 miles, the Serpentine Trail cuts off to the left and provides an alternative route uphill. Some of the views are disrupted by power lines that run through the preserve.

At .5 miles, the trail begins to climb more steeply uphill as the trail moves away from Highway 17 and the reservoir. Passing .7 miles, the trail meets up again with the Serpentine Trail and Range Trail junction. The trail goes off to the right and climbs until it reaches the summit of St. Joseph's Hill. The views of the South Bay and the hills spread out before you, although they are partially obstructed. There is a bench and wooden fence where you can rest, and bikers can lean their bikes, before continuing downhill.

The trail begins to drop along the back side of the preserve, where you can get glimpses of homes just outside the park boundary. Circling around the hill, the trail passes the Upper Brothers Bypass Trail and finally ends where the Lower Brothers Bypass Trail and the Range Trail intersect. From here, you can have several options to get back to the parking area.

You can take the Range Trail back to the Novitiate Trail or if you want to add some additional distance to your trip, take the Lower Brothers Bypass Trail to meet up with the Novitiate Trail deeper in the preserve, and then turn left to head back to the junction with the Manzanita and Jones Trail.

Flora & Fauna

In the spring, a wide variety of wildflowers and flowering plants can be seen along the trail.

Rabbits, lizards, and various species of birds can be seen and heard along the trail. Mountain Lions and bobcats have been reported in the preserve, so be on the lookout in the mornings and in the evenings. Rattlesnakes have been reported in the area as well, so be on the lookout on hot summer days.


Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 6 votes


  3.3 from 6 votes
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in California


5 Views Last Month
1,361 Since May 7, 2016
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A view from the hillside.
May 13, 2016 near Los Gatos, CA
The trail meets up with the Serpentine Trail. The Manzanita Trail goes off to the left while the Serpentine Trail goes straight ahead.
May 13, 2016 near Los Gatos, CA
Novitiate Trail as it moves through the woods. Rabbits and quail can be seen scurrying along the trail in this section.
May 12, 2016 near Los Gatos, CA
Flowers bloom alongside the trail.
May 13, 2016 near Los Gatos, CA
The trail as it makes its way along the hilltop and the surrounding hills.
May 13, 2016 near Los Gatos, CA
Bench at the top of St. Joseph's Hill.
May 13, 2016 near Los Gatos, CA



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