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Knibbs Knob Trail

 3.3 (3)

A ridge climb deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with views that get better and better as the trail climbs.

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2,910' 887 m


1,147' 350 m


1,764' 538 m


0' 0 m



Avg Grade (9°)


Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildlife

Open 8 a.m. to sunset.

Reservations are required on the weekend due to limited parking and traffic on a one lane road. See the park website for up to date information on how to get a reservation.…


Knibbs Knob Trail climbs along the "backbone" of a high ridge deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This ridge separates the Uvas Creek Valley on the north side of the ridge, from the Swanson Creek Valley on the ridge's south side. The ridge ends where Swanson Creek empties into Uvas Creek, and this is where Knibbs Knob Trail starts. To find Knibbs Knob Trail, follow the road to the campground. Just after entering the campground, there is a sign for the Upper Bench loop to the left (west). Follow the road through this loop to find the trail at the end of the loop. It is a wide fire road type of trail.

Knibbs Knob Trail climbs continually, and steeply in many places, from start to end. The trail begins in the woods by switchbacking up the end of the ridge that separates the two creek valleys. Initially, Uvas Creek can be heard to the right (north) of the trail, although it can not be seen due to the dense woods. As the trail climbs, steep forested hillsides across the Uvas Creek Valley can be seen through the trees. Some of the switchback U-turns have spectacular views due to the steep dropoffs, thus trees do not block the views.

The last switchback (for now) is at the 0.6 mile mark. From here the trail continues to climb the ridge crest. Vegetation on the ridge crest and south (left) side of the ridge is primarily low brush, thus providing great views of the mountains. The north (right) side of the ridge is wooded with limited views through the taller and denser trees. Knibbs Knob, a high circular bump comes into view ahead, just to the north (right) of the trail.

At the 1.6 mile mark, Knob Trail, a short spur trail that leads to the top of Knibbs Knob, is reached, as Knibbs Knobs Trail passes Knibbs Knob on the knob's south side. Continuing to climb, Knibbs Knob Trail goes through low brush and wooded areas, as it winds around from the south side to the north side of the ridge. After 2.0 miles, the trail ends at Summit Road, a dirt road here, that is open to motor vehicle traffic.

Flora & Fauna

Vegetation ranges from forested slopes, manzanita, oak, and other forest vegetation, to brush found in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Deer abound.


Land Manager: Santa Clara County Parks

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 3 votes


  3.3 from 3 votes
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9 Views Last Month
1,064 Since Oct 23, 2018



The Swanson Creek Valley deep in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains, drops off below Knibbs Knob Trail.
Oct 24, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Knibbs Knob Trail rounds one of several switchbacks as it climbs the ridge separating the Swanson Creek and Uvas Creek valleys.
Oct 24, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains, looking south from high on Knibbs Knob Trail.
Oct 24, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Swanson Creek Valley is to the left (south) of the high ridge that Knibbs Knob Trail traverses. Not shown, but to the right (north) of this ridge, is the Uvas Creek Valley.
Oct 24, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Beyond the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley, is the Diablo Range in the far distance when looking east from high on Knibbs Knob Trail.
Oct 24, 2018 near Day Valley, CA



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