Views · Wildflowers
St. Joseph's Hill Preserve is open 1/2 an hour before sunrise to 1/2 an hour after sunset.
The trail is rocky as it climbs into the hills. Parts of the trail can be washed out if its been raining.
The Novitiate Trail is located half a mile from the Lexington Reservoir on the Jones Trail
. Breaking off to the right, the trail climbs steeply along a doubletrack dirt and gravel trail with a fence on the left hand side of the trail. Flowers and flowering bushes line both sides of the trail in the spring. At roughly a quarter of a mile, the Manzanita Trail
cuts off to the right while the Novitiate Trail continues straight ahead. It passes an open area on the left before dropping down, cutting to the right, and starting to climb deeper into the preserve through the woods. Emerging from the woods, the trail climbs up the hillside where rabbits and birds can be seen along the trail moving between the bushes.
At roughly six-tenths of a mile, the Lower Brother's Bypass Trail cuts to the right and climbs to the Manzanita Trail
while views of the San Jose area stretch out before you. The San Francisco Bay and hills on the east side of the bay can be seen in the distance. This is the high point of the trail and the best view. From here, most people take the Bypass Trail to the Manzanita Trail
or return back to the Jones Trail
instead of continuing onward. The trail transforms from rock and dirt to a grass as it descends toward the park boundary. Due to this section of the trail not getting a lot of foot traffic, it is overgrown, especially in the winter and spring as the plants along the trail grow.
Descending steeply in places, the trail makes its way through the woods until it reaches the park boundary. Some maps show the trail emerges on Foster Road, but all of the gates that lead out of the preserve are locked at the park boundary. At this point, the only option is to climb back up the hill to the Lower Brothers Bypass Trail
, where you can either follow the Novitiate Trail back to the Jones Trail
, or follow the Bypass Trail to some of the other trails in the preserve.
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.
Shared By: David Hitchcock