Open Space Authority Links:

Open Space Authority of Santa Clara Valley

OSA Board of Directors

Video: Your Open Space Lands in Santa Clara County, 5/15/14

Coyote Valley OSP Links:

Bay Nature Magazine article on Coyote Valley

Western Watershed Lands (includes Coyote Valley)

Birding Hike in the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve 11/8/14

Mercury News: Bridge Building by Helicopter in Future Coyote Valley Preserve

Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve - Building Bridges Video, 2/17/15

Coyote Valley Trail Building Video 2/20/15

Facebook: Nesting Knowledge: Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, 4/4/15

Gilroy Dispatch: Coyote Valley Property Does 180

Rancho Canada Del Oro:

Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, 5/16/09

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10

Facebook: Rancho Canada del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail 1/18/14

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

Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09

Blair Ranch Hike 3/28/10

Facebook: Rancho Canada del Oro Spring Flowers Before Spring Hike, 2/15/15

Facebook: Rancho Canada de Oro Docents Hike, 2/21/15

Coyote Ridge Links:

Coyote Ridge Wildflowers, 4/13/08

Coyote Ridge Wildflower Walks 4/18/10 and 4/3/10

Coyote Ridge, 4/18/10 (Facebook)

Coyote Ridge, April 17, 2011 (Facebook Album)

Coyote Ridge Wildflower Walk, 4/13/14

Facebook: Coyote Ridge Hike 4/13/14

Light of Morn: Coyote Ridge

Light of Morn: Coyote Springs Wildflowers

Coyote Ridge Serpentine Grasslands Field Trip

Sierra Vista & Alum Rock Park Links:

Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

Sierra Vista Map

Directions to Sierra Vista

Boccardo Loop Trail, 8/14/10

Sierra Vista Trail Dedication 10/22/11

Facebook: Sierra Vista Trail Dedication 10/22/11

Sam Drake's Pictures, Sierra Vista Hike 10/22/11

Ellen Finch's Pictures, Sierra Vista Hike 10/22/11

Sierra Vista Boccardo Trail Hike 8/14/10

Facebook: Sierra Vista Hike 11/23/12

Sierra Vista Staging Area Dedication 8/23/14

Aquila Trail Dedication 8/23/14 pictures, Sierra Vista Opening

Facebook: Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve Aquila Trail Winter Hike, 2/16/15

Facebook: Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve Sierra Vista Trail Winter Hike, 2/16/15

Other Open Space Authority Properties:

Doan Ranch Page 1, Page 2

Palassou Open Space Preserve Hike, 6/6/09

Melchor Ranch Docent Hike, 10/28/14

Melchor Ranch Public Hike, 11/1/14

Facebook: Doan Ranch Tour, 4/12/15

Facebook: Doan Ranch Satellite and 3D Maps

Urban Projects Partially Funded by the Open Space Authority:

The Albertson Parkway

Guadalupe River Trail Hwy 101 to Alviso (see Ulistac)

Facebook: Guadalupe River Trail to Ulistac Natural Area, 8/25/12

Facebook: San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail to 49'ers Stadium, 8/25/12

Facebook: Ulistac Natural Area, Santa Clara, 1/12/14

Facebook: Levi's Stadium, San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, 8/2/14

San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail, Santa Clara (8/5/09-8/3/14)

Bay Area Ridge Trail Links:

Bay Area Ridge Trail

Bay Area Ridge Trail Council's Facebook Page

Facebook, Goal: Hiking the Entire Bay Area Ridge Trail

Ridge Trail Guidebook

Ridge Trail, Sierra Vista map

Ridge Trail: Alum Rock and Boccardo Trail

KQED Quest on the Bay Area Ridge Trail

Mercury News: Santa Clara County: Lots of Trail, Lots of Gaps

Other Park and Trail Pages:

Ron Horii's SF Bay Rec & Travel

Santa Clara County Parks

Pictures of the Santa Clara County Parks

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens:

Guadalupe River Trail

Guadalupe Creek Trail

Coyote Creek Trail

Bay Area Biking

Los Alamitos Creek Trail

Bay Trails, South Bay

Bay Area Parks

Friends of Santa Teresa Park

Pictures of Santa Teresa County Park

Almaden Quicksilver Park

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

Almaden Quicksilver Wildflowers and Views, Spring 2008, Part 2

The Penitencia Creek Trail

Penitencia Creek Trail, Bay Area Ridge Trail Dedication, 10/25/08

Uvas Canyon Healthy Trails Hike, 2/21/09

Ed Levin County Park, Monument Peak Trail 3/3/09

Healthy Trails Walk, Almaden Quicksilver 3/28/09

Healthy Trails Hike, Calero, 4/25/09

Rancho San Vicente Hike, 6/13/09

Joseph D. Grant County Park 1/31/10

POST Rancho San Vicente Hike, 4/10/10

Outdoor Photography/Wildflower Walk, Rancho San Vicente, 4/17/10

Rancho San Vicente Outdoor Docent Hike, 5/30/10

Rancho San Vicente hikes, 4/3/11 and 5/15/11

Coyote Peak Sign Dedication, Santa Teresa Park, 10/25/14

Coyote Peak to Rocky Ridge Hike and Views, 11/2/14, Santa Teresa County Park

Facebook: Rancho San Vicente POST Hike, 11/23/14

Facebook: Santa Clara County Parks Slideshow for the Hellyer Visitor Center, 3/11/15

Facebook: Santa Clara County Parks Slideshow, Additional Pictures, 3/11/15

Facebook: Wildflower Hike on the Stile Ranch, Mine, Fortini Trails, 3/14/15

Facebook: Hunt for Wildflowers and Butterflies in Santa Teresa Park 4/2/15

Bay Nature Hike in the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, 4/19/15

The 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve is in the Coyote Valley, between San Jose and Morgan Hill. The Open Space Authority of Santa Clara Valley (formerly called the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority) purchased the property for $3.5 million in 2010. The preserve is not yet open to the public, but it is accessible through special docent-guided hikes. (It will open to the public on June 27, 2015.)

Bay Nature Magazine requested a hike on April 19, 2015. Docent Paul Billig led the hike accompanied by docents Pauline Wood and Ron Horii. Above, from left to right are Pauline Wood, Paul Billig, Dr. Stuart Weiss of the Creekside Center for Earth Observation, and David Loeb, publisher of Bay Nature Magazine. Paul is giving an introductory talk in the new parking lot of the preserve. He is showing an example of serpentine rock. Serpentine is the state rock and is very important environmentally as it provides habitats for many rare and endangered species. The preserve contains 51 acres of serpentine grasslands.

A group of almost 2 dozen hikers heads out on the trail. There is still construction work going on to prepare the preserve for its opening in June.

Near the preserve entrance is a huge, flat field. It covers about 26 acres. There will be a 1-mile flat perimeter trail around it. The past couple of years, the Open Space Authority has used the field to hold their fall Coyote Valley Family Harvest Feast, which had thousands of attendees. Behind the field are hills that are covered with serpentine. So is the hill above and to the left of the trail. The trails avoid the serpentine areas, which are sensitive habitats.

Paul points out the start of the new hill trail, as yet unnamed.

We start out on the hill trail.

Stuart Weiss talks about different grass species, most of which are non-native and imported by early settlers to feed their livestock. Coyote Valley OSP has had and will continue to have active cattle grazing. The cattle have been temporarily removed from parts of the preserve during construction. Once they return, the grasses will be shorter.

Paul looks at the wildflowers on the hill. The little white ones are called Q-tips.

More flowers are below the trail.

This is a view back along the trail. A side road leads to a parking area for construction equipment.

The trail climbs gradually into a valley.

There are lots of wildflowers on the hillside.

There are lots of purple ithuriel's spears, a member of the lily family. The yellow flowers appear to be smooth hawksbeard, a non-native relative of dandelions.

The trail bends at the head of the valley.

At this bend in the trail, Paul talks about the valley oak tree and oak galls.

This is a view across the valley. The hill on the other side of the valley has an old ranch road that was used as an interim trail in previous hikes.

The trail switches back and climbs up this hill.

The trail is cut into the steep hillside.

This is a view across the valley. The trail we came up on is below. The white flowers on the nearby hillside are chick lupines.

This is a closer view of the chick lupines on the hill.

From higher up on the trail, the serpentine-covered hill in the corner of the preserve can be seen.

From here on the hillside, next to the serpentine-covered hill on the right, antenna-topped Coyote Peak in Santa Teresa County Park can be seen. It shows how close Coyote Valley OSP is to Santa Teresa Park. It may be possible to connect them in the future by going through Calero County Park, which is on the west of the preserve.

This part of the trail runs through a shady forest of bay laurel trees.

These bay laurel trees have some interesting knobs near their bases.

This is Palm Avenue leading into the preserve. The round-about is at the entrance of the preserve. The surrounding open fields show that the Coyote Valley is mostly rural farmland, even though it is right at the edge of highly-urbanized Silicon Valley. The undeveloped land provides migration corridors for wildlife to travel between the Diablo Range to the east and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west. Migration promotes genetic diversity, which strengthens the ability of the animals to survive environmental challenges, like diseases and climate change.

This is a telephoto view from the trail, looking across the Coyote Valley. The scars on the hills on the other side of the valley are from the Kirby Canyon Landfill. Above the landfill is Coyote Ridge. Coyote Ridge has a variety of owners, but thousands of acres are protected. The Valley Transportation Agency (VTA) owns 548 acres, which is set aside to protect the serpentine habitat, which contains rare and endangered species like the Bay Checkerspot butterfly and Santa Clara Valley dudleya. VTA purchased this land to mitigate the environmental impact of the construction of Hwy 101 and the Bailey Avenue interchange. The Open Space Authority manages this land for VTA and offers springtime hikes that feature views of wildflowers and butterflies. (See the Coyote Ridge links above.)

This is a view north. The line running across the hill is the trail. We can't go that far today because the trail isn't complete.

We stop here at this viewpoint to take in a view of the Coyote Valley. This is looking towards the north Coyote Valley. In the background is the Metcalf Energy Center powerplant. To the left of it is Tulare Hill, which is protected from development. On the other side of Tulare Hill is almost solid urban development at the south end of Silicon Valley. The ridge in the background is called Coyote Ridge. The OSA recently purchased a 2-mile stretch of the ridge, 1831 acres south of Metcalf Road, between Motorcycle County Park and the VTA mitigation lands. This part of the ridge once belonged to United Technologies Corporation as part of their rocket plant in the Shingle Valley behind it. It will connect other open space lands and will be open to the public in the future.

Paul talks about the history of the Coyote Valley and how the preserve was saved from development. As Silicon Valley has grown, the rural flat farmlands of the Coyote Valley have been targeted for development several times over the years. In the early 2000's, the City of San Jose commissioned the Coyote Valley Specific Plan, which was a master plan for developing the valley. It called for 50,000 jobs and 25,000 homes. Cisco Systems was planning to build their world headquarters in the North Coyote Valley. The plans for the Coyote Valley were dropped in 2008 because of costs, delays, and opposition. The 348 acres that are now Coyote Valley OSP were originally zoned to be developed into 1-2 acre home sites. There were plans to build 25 homes. The collapse of the Coyote Valley development plans, the recession, and the burst of the housing bubble led the owners of the parcel to sell it to the OSA at 1/10 of the cost of residential land.

Stuart Weiss talks about the threatened and federally-protected Bay Checkerspot butterfly. On the other side of the Coyote Valley is Coyote Ridge, which has more of these butterflies than anywhere else in the world. The butterflies are threatened with extinction because of the destruction of their habitat, which is serpentine grasslands. The butterfly larvae require dwarf plantain, plantago erecta, as a food source. The plantain thrives in serpentine soil, but it is easily crowded out by non-native grasses. Serpentine is normally inhospitable to these grasses, but because of nitrogen deposition from vehicle exhaust and power plants, the serpentine soil becomes fertile, allowing exotic grasses to grow. One means of combating this, practiced on Coyote Ridge and other places, is cattle grazing. The Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan was developed to protect endangered species like the Bay Checkerspot butterfly and is administered by the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency.

This is a view looking towards the south boundary of the preserve and at the adjacent private ranchland. In the background is the south part of the Coyote Valley. The large white buildings are greenhouses. 2,700 acres of the Coyote Valley belong to the Tilton Ranch. The 348 acres that now comprise the open space preserve were once part of the Tilton Ranch. They were sold to developers in 1993 to pay inheritance taxes. Now that land will be leased back to the Tilton Ranch for grazing.

Here Paul is talking about soaproot plants. One of the plants has sent up a long stalk, which is unusual this early in the year. Soaproots produce flowers on those long stalks, usually in the summer. The flowers pop open in the evening, and are pollinated by bees..

There are lots of ithuriel's spears on this hill.

The white flowers are common yarrow.

This is a view from higher up on the hill of Palm Avenue and the Coyote Valley.

In the center is a blue oak. It has a slightly bluish tinge compared to the darker valley oaks on both sides.

Looking northwest, a flat ranch road runs down the valley below to the preserve boundary, where the hills start again. We will go partway down this ranch road later. In the distance right of center is Coyote Peak in Santa Teresa Park. Much of the land on the south side of Coyote Peak belongs to IBM. Not visible from this point is IBM's Silicon Valley Lab on Bailey Avenue at the base of the hills. The lab buildings take up a small portion of their property. Most of it is leased for cattle grazing.

We can see the trail below, where we came up earlier. The ridge behind it has an old ranch road on top.

This shows the remnants of the ranch road on the ridge. It's too steep to use as a trail, but it was used as a temporary trail to access the ridgetop during the birding hike on 11/8/14, since the new trail was under construction (see the link above).

This is a yellow mariposa lily, a member of the lily family. It's a native perennial that is only found in California. It normally blooms in late spring. It's unusual to find it blooming so early in the spring, but spring came early this year for wildflowers because of the heavy December rains and warm winter weather.

This part of the trail comes close to the preserve boundary.

There's a patch of chick lupines here.

We approach the first bridge. It is complete enough to cross, but there is one missing plank on the far side. 10,000 pounds of  materials to build the trail bridges were dropped in by helicopter all in one day, on Feb. 5, 2015. We are very close to the preserve boundary. The dirt road to the left is outside of the preserve.

This rock outcropping has a variety of plants and wildflowers.

This is a single globe lily, also called a fairy lantern. It's in the same genus as mariposa lilies (Calochortus).

Ahead is the second trail bridge, still under construction.

The bridge will cross this small seasonal creek. There's lots of poison oak below, so we don't attempt a crossing. This is our turn-around point. This point is about 1/3 the total distance of the trail.

We head back down the trail.

This is the first bridge again. Note the missing plank.

We approach the end of the hill trail, back where we started.

We stop at the junction where the hillside trail meets one of the main ranch roads. In the background is one of the serpentine-covered hills.

Paul heads out along the ranch road on the valley floor.

This is the end point of the hike, where the hill trail joins the ranch road. Paul talks about the trails and plans for the preserve.

Paul stands at the end of the hillside trail. When completed, it will be about 3 miles long.

Google Earth 3D Maps

Docent Paul Billig scouted out Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve ahead of the above hike. He recorded a GPS track. I imported it into Google Earth and saved some screen shots of the route from different angles. However, when I tried to print them out, they were too dark. So I imported them into Photoshop and brightened them up so they would print more clearly. If you click on the pictures below, you will link to larger pictures that are lightened up for printing. The actual group hike on 4/19 followed the entire hill route, but only part of the flat valley route.

This is the big picture. It shows the trail and the preserve relative to other parks and preserves. The preserve begins at the end of Palm Avenue and goes up into the hills. The blue line is Paul's GPS track. The hillside trail is on the left. The flat valley trail is on the right. The Cinnabar Hills Golf Course is just above the preserve and to the right. Above the golf course is McKean Road, which turns into Uvas Road on the left. On the other side of McKean Road is Calero County Park and Calero Reservoir. To the left of Calero is Rancho Canada Del Oro.

The entrance and parking lot are on the lower left. The hillside route goes up the hills on the left to the second trail bridge, which isn't installed yet. The valley route is flat and runs to the right. We only took that about halfway, where the new trail will end. Most of the land in this picture is within the preserve, including the hill on the lower right. A little piece of the Cinnabar Hill Golf Course can be seen on the upper right.

This is a view from above the hill trail. We stopped where the second bridge is going to be installed on the lower left.. The entrance is on the right. The end of the valley trail is at the top just left of center.

This is a view looking down the valley trail, with the entrance and parking lot on the upper left and the hill trail on the upper right. We hiked down the valley trail to about the point where it bends. That's where the new hill trail will end. The hill on the lower left is covered with serpentine and is within the preserve, but it is a very sensitive area and will probably not be accessible to the public.

This shows the hill trail and a view looking down the Coyote Valley. It shows how the trail switches back and gradually climbs up to the top of the hills. The highlighted road in the valley in the background at the upper right leads to Coyote Valley Sporting Clays, which is a shotgun target shooting range at the end of San Bruno Avenue. It is open to the public, so you can drive into that valley.

From this angle, you can see the ridgetop, the valley trail on the left and the hill trail on the right. The hill trail will eventually reach the ridgetop and complete the loop down to the valley trail.

This is looking from the ridgetop down towards the preserve. The pond below is on private property right next to the preserve boundary. We saw it on a hike last year: Birding Hike in the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve 11/8/14.
To the left and below center, you can see the old ranch road that we took to reach the top of the ridge at that time, since we couldn't use the new trail.

The map below is from the Calero County Park Master Plan. It shows Calero County Park in the center with other parks and open space preserves around it. Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve is to the right of it. It may be possible to connect Coyote Valley OSP to Calero in the future. Once that is done, Coyote Valley OSP will be connected to much larger areas of nearly contiguous protected open space.

The 3D Google Earth screenshots below are labeled with landmarks, particularly to show nearby parks and open space preserves. Coyote Valley OSP is always the light blue track. Click on each image to see a larger version (unedited).

This is a view northwest. It shows how Coyote Valley OSP is just south of the solid urban development in the South Bay. Santa Teresa County Park is to the northwest at the edge of South San Jose. Rancho Canada del Oro and Calero County Park are to the southwest. Almaden Quicksilver and Sierra Azul are to the west.

This is a view looking southeast from above the southeastern corner of Silicon Valley. Urban development ends here at Santa Teresa County Park and Tulare Hill. Hwy 101, Monterey Highway, and Santa Teresa Blvd. wrap around Tulare Hill in the Coyote Narrows. South of Tulare Hill is the rural Coyote Valley. The Metcalf Energy Center and IBM's Silicon Valley Lab are the only industrial developments in the Coyote Valley. Between Tulare Hill and Bailey Avenue is where Cisco planned to build their world headquarters. The North Coyote Valley would have turned into a small city. At the lower left is the south edge of Evergreen Valley. It shows how far urban development has extended into Coyote Ridge.

This is a view southwest from above Calero Dam, looking down the Coyote Valley. It shows other reservoirs in the area: Anderson, Coyote, Chesbro, and Uvas. The Coyote Valley itself is mostly farmland, except for the Coyote Creek Golf Club. To the left is Coyote Ridge, starting from Metcalf Road. The Open Space Authority, recently purchased a large part of Coyote Ridge south of Motorcycle County Park. To the left of the ridge is Shingle Valley, which once was the home of the United Technologies rocket plant. Beyond and to the left of Anderson Reservoir is Henry Coe State Park. With over 87,000 acres, Henry Coe is the largest state park in Northern California. This shows the huge amount of open space on either side of the Coyote Valley, much of it protected.

This is a closer view looking west, showing the Cinnabar Hills Golf Course, Calero County Park and its Rancho San Vicente addition, Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve and its Blair Ranch addition, and Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The ridge in the background is Sierra Azul, much of which is in Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. This shows how much undeveloped open space, much of it protected in parks and open space preserves, is west of the Coyote Valley.

This is a view looking south. Most of the hilly land south of the preserve is private ranchland up to Chesbro Reservoir. West of Uvas Road is Blair Ranch. Father south down Uvas Road is the 285-acre Melchor property, which was acquired by the Open Space Authority in 2014.

This is a view looking west from above the hills east of Coyote Ridge. Below is the private 28,359-acre San Felipe Ranch, owned by the Hewlett and Packard families. It is the largest privately owned property in Santa Clara County and is protected from development by a conservation easement with the Nature Conservancy. To the lower left is the north end of Anderson Reservoir. Remnants of the UTC rocket plant are to the right, below Metcalf Road.

This is a view looking east from over 3,486-foot Mt. Umunhum in the steep and rugged Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. With over 18,000 acres, it is the largest preserve in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. It is adjacent to 4,157-acre Almaden Quicksilver County Park, which in turn is very close to the 966-acre Rancho San Vicente addition to 4,455-acre Calero County Park. Calero abuts 4,685-acre Rancho Canada del Oro, which includes the 865-acre Blair Ranch. If Coyote Valley OSP can be connected to Calero, it will provide a gateway from the Coyote Valley to vast expanses of protected open space to the west. This can provide miles of connecting trails and wildlife migration corridors.

Created by Ronald Horii, 4/22/15