Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve

Canada Del Oro and Calero Trail Map

Directions to Canada Del Oro

SCC Open Space Authority

Santa Clara County Parks

Bay Area Ridge Trail

Ridge Trail Guidebook

Peninsula Open Space Trust

Rancho Canada Del Oro (Pictures by Cait Hutnik)

Bird Count 2006: Rancho Canada Del Oro and Blair Ranch

Bay Nature Institute: Rancho Canada Del Oro

Park and Trail Pages:

Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09

Doan Ranch Page 1, Page 2

Los Alamitos Creek Trail

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens:

Guadalupe River Trail

Guadalupe Creek Trail

Coyote Creek Trail

Bay Area Biking

Bay Trails, South Bay

Bay Area Parks

Friends of Santa Teresa Park

Almaden Quicksilver Park

Bay Area Back Pages

SF Bay Rec & Travel

Calero Healthy Trails Hike, 4/25/09

Uvas Canyon Healthy Trails Hike, 2/21/09

Coyote Ridge Wildflowers, 4/13/08

Almaden Quicksilver Wildflowers and Views, Spring 2008, Part 2

Healthy Trails Walk, Almaden Quicksilver 3/28/09

Harvey Bear Ranch-Coyote Lake Pictures, 3/10/07, 3/21-21/09, 4/18/09

Santa Teresa Park Pictures:

Santa Teresa Park Mine, Fortini, Stile Ranch Wildflowers, 4/11/08

Coyote Peak, Rocky Ridge Wildflowers, Feb-Apr. '08

Bernal Hill wildflowers and views, Feb-Apr. '08 Part 1, Part 2

Coyote Peak, Rocky Ridge, Feb-April '08

Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Stile, 5/4/08

Outdoor Photography Class/Wildflower Walk, Bernal Ranch/Hill 4/4/09

Geocaching Class, Fortini-Mine-Stile Ranch Trail, 4/11/09

Pre-Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Mine-Stile Ranch Trail, 5/3/09

Healthy Trails Hike, Fortini, Mine, Stile Ranch Trails, 5/9/09

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike,
Mayfair Ranch Trail, 5/16/09

Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve is a preserve of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. It is located southwest of San Jose and northwest of Morgan Hill in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is adjacent to Calero County Park and south of Almaden Quicksilver County Park. On 5/16/09, docents Cait Hutnik and Paul Billig led a loop hike through the preserve on the 3.1-mle Mayfair Ranch Trail, returning on a 1-2 mile trip on the Longwall Canyon Trail and Calero County Park's Serpentine Trail. Though it was late in the season, there were still wildflowers out. The hike began at the preserve's main staging area  on Casa Loma Road.

We met at the mapboard and trailhead in the parking lot on Casa Loma Road. The hike began at about 8:20.

The dirt trail in the center is the Mayfair Ranch Trail. The paved trail on the left is the Llagas Creek Trail, which is a flat, wheelchair-accessible trail loop around a meadow and along Llagas Creek. The Mayfair Ranch Trail crosses over Casa Loma Road, then begins a gradual ascent up the hill on a series of switchbacks.

The Mayfair Ranch trail climbs up the hill through oaks and manzanita. Unlike the older trails in the preserve, which were old ranch roads, this trail was built specifically as a recreational trail, so it doesn't have steep climbs and drops. It also runs through shady forests.

Looking south from the Mayfair Ranch Trail reveals views of the Blair Ranch, a new acquisition by the Open Space Authority that will eventually be added to the park.


Manzanita berries

Whispering bells

Heading through a shady section.

Cresting the ridge, we can see views of Calero County Park.

The hills of Calero.

Hedge nettle, also called wood mint.

Checkerspot butterfly on a mule's ear sunflower.

Sunflowers and wood roses

Wind poppy

White wind poppy.

Looking at fairy lanterns on the side of the trail.

Wood rose.

Bald Peaks

The trail reaches the top of the ridge through a forest of blue oaks. It passes through a cattle gate, then enters into a sunny grassy area along the ridgetop, where cattle are allowed to graze.

View towards the Sierra Azuls south of Mt. Loma Prieta.

Yellow mariposa lily.

Horses head towards the high point of the Mayfair Ranch Trail. The trail follows the ridgetop, with views to either side of the ridge. The trees provide occasional shade, but the trail is mostly sunny. Fortunately, the slope is gradual.

Looking back down the trail on top of the ridge. Many of the trees on the ridge are blue oaks.

Elegant brodiaea

Harvest brodiaea.



The trail reaches its high point at around 1400 feet, then crosses over to the north side of the ridge. It passes through a cattle gate in a forested area, then emerges into this field. The grass on this north-facing slope was still green.

The trail begins a gradual descent through shady oak and laurel forests.

In the forest, there is sufficient shade and moisture for several types of ferns to grow.

Bridge over a creek in a deeply-shaded section.

The trail emerges from the forest and begins to descend down the north slope of the ridge. At the point where it turns is a rest area with picnic table. This area has views of the north side of the preserve.

Sticky monkeyflowers and Indian paintbrush on a rock out-cropping near the rest area.

Across the canyon, the Longwall Canyon Trail can be seen ascending the hill.

Canyon dudleya growing on the rocks by the rest area.

Leaves of a black oak tree.


Lots of ithuriel's spears.

The trails runs down the steep hill in a series of switchbacks.

Fairy lanterns, or globe lilies.


The trail levels off when it reaches Baldy Ryan Creek and follows it. This is a cool and shady section, which was fortunate, because temperatures in the region were supposed to hit the high 90's today.

A coast mountain kingsnake was resting on the trail. We coaxed it off the trail so it wouldn't get run over by a bike or stepped on. (See Cait Hutnik's pictures of the kingsnake)

A large rock outcropping by the trail.

There are two ways to cross Baldy Ryan Creek. One is to take the bridge above when the creek is full. When the creek is low, as it was today, it can be easily forded.

Arroyo lupine.

The Mayfair Ranch Trail ends here, where it intersects the Longwall Canyon Trail. If you take the trail to the left, it winds its way up to the side of the canyon to reach the Bald Peaks Trail at the top of the ridge. We took the Longwall Canyon Trail to the right, which is sunny, but mostly downhill.

Morning glories

The trail passes through an area of serpentine rock. Grasses are thinner. Native wildflowers are abundant. Here, golden yarrow covers the hill.

Mariposa lilies on the hill.

Mariposa lily.

Dudleya growing on a graywacke rock wall.

A funnel-web spider peeks out of its web trap.

This dudleya is flowering.

Approaching the tin barn, which is used for equipment storage. Ahead is the Catamount Trail junction.

Looking back at the tin barn from the trail junction. The Catamount Trail leads up the hill to the right.

Poppies were still growing on the hill. They formed a dense carpet earlier in the season. Ahead, the trail enters Calero County Park. Bikes are not allowed in Calero.

This is a meadow in Calero.

This is theSerpentine Loop Trail junction in Calero. The fork to the left leads up to the Bald Peaks Trail in Calero. The trail ahead leads through Calero to Casa Loma Road. It has little shade, but it is flat.

The Serpentine Loop Trail in Calero follows an old ranch road along the edge of a former orchard. Before it was a trail, it was Baldy Ryan Creek Road.

The trail crosses Baldy Ryan Creek.


4-spot clarkia

Owl's clover

The Serpentine Trail ends on Casa Loma road, across from the entrance to the Canada Del Oro parking lot. The hike ended at 12:30 pm.

Created by Ronald Horii, 5/19/09, updated 11/19/09