Rancho San Vicente Outdoor Hike, April 3, 2011
Rancho San Vicente Docent Hike 5/30/10
Rancho San Vicente Photo Class/Wildflower Walk 4/17/10
POST Rancho San Vicente Hike, April 10, 2010
POST Rancho San Vicente Hike, June 13, 2009
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Mercury News Article on Rancho San Vicente,
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Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09
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Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, 5/16/09
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10
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
Palassou Ridge 6/6/09
Mt. Madonna Geocaching Class, 7/11/09
Hellyer HDR Pictures 1/10/10
Almaden Quicksilver Wood Road Geocaching Class 1/16/10
Uvas Canyon HDR Pictures 1/23/10
Joseph D. Grant County Park, 1/31/10
Uvas Canyon Hike, 2/13/10
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10
Coyote Ridge, 4/18/10
Mummy Mountain Trail Day and Hike, Coyote Lake, 4/24/10
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
Santa Teresa Sunset Pictures 2/7/10
Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Stile, 5/2/10
Ron Horii's Outdoor Photography Pages:
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Rancho San Vicente Outdoor Hike
October 14, 2012
Rancho San Vicente is the newest additon to Calero County Park. It was acquired by the Santa Clara County Parks Department in 2009. It covers 966 acres and is located in the South Almaden Valley, north of Calero County Park, south of Almaden Quicksilver County Park, and west of Santa Teresa County Park. It is not yet open to the public on a regular basis. The master planning process for Calero is in-progress, which will change some of the trails in Calero and connect them to Rancho San Vicente. In the meantime, Rancho San Vicente is open for guided hikes. There are no official trails in the park, but there are ranch roads, which many of the hikes follow. On October 14, 2012, docent Cait Hutnik led a hike there, accompanied docent/park photographer Ron Horii. Like all
The morning had been foggy. As the hike began around 9:00 am, the fog turned patchy, with some clear spots. Like all hikes to Rancho San Vicente, it began at Calero Reservoir near the boat launching ramps.
The number of people that show up to these Rancho San Vicente hikes varies tremendously, from several dozen to none. On this hike, a couple came.
Most hikes begin at the corral entrance across from Rakstad Road. This hike began at the Water District entrance below Calero Dam. We were given permission to start the hike here.
Looking west, we can see the high point of Rancho San Vicente. Later in the day, we will be looking down from there.
We walk up the Water District's service road.
We hike along the levee next to the Almaden-Calero Canal. The canal was dry, but in the rainy season, it can be full of water, being carried from Almaden Reservoir to Calero Reservoir. The steep-sided canal can be dangerous at that time, which is one reason why the levee road will not be used as a trail when the park opens.
We look at the vegetation growing next to the canal, such as this toyon.
The fog was dense here at the time.
Along the levee road, we spotted this odd fungus called a "dead man's foot."
We reach the main park service road and head uphill.
Cait points out a serpentine boulder. More than half of Rancho San Vicente is covered with serpentine rock and soil, which supports the growth of native wildflowers. This results in spectacular spring wildflower displays.
At the base of a cut in the hill is this spring-fed pond, which is wet even this late in the year. Other ponds in the park are dry.
We hike along the ranch road. The hills ahead are enshrouded in fog.
We see a jawbone, probably from a calf, in the middle of the road.
Cait points out the bark of a manzanita.
Next to the manzanita is a leather oak, with this colorful gall.
Near a bend in the trail is this large mature bay laurel tree, which provides welcome shade on a hot day.
As we climb higher into the hills, we see the fog beginning to lift. In the distance is the ridgeline of the Sierra Azul range.
We reach the highpoint of the park. Looking down, we can see Calero Reservoir, still partially obscured by fog.
We head down from the peak.
We follow along the ranch road.
We pass by herds of cattle. The ranch road continues to cross over the near hill on the right, but we do not go that far.
Finally, we reach a viewpoint below the peak.
This is the view looking towards Santa Teresa Park.
This is the view looking towards Calero Ranch Estates. Down below, we can see where we parked.
This is Calero Dam and reservoir.
In the distance are the hills above Calero. The trail along the ridge leads to the Bald Peaks of Rancho Canada Del Oro.
As the fog dissipates, we can see clear views. In the distance is Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, topped by Mt. Umunhum. Below it is the Los Capitancillos Ridge of Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
We head back down the hill.
The undeveloped hills below are part of Rancho San Vicente. Almaden Road is on the left. McKean Road is on the right. On the far right are the Santa Teresa Hills.
We take a side trip and see an ancient rock wall.
Looking down towards New Almaden, we can see the Casa Grande, which houses the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum on the lower left. The near hills are part of Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The radar tower on Mt. Umunhum is in the distance.
Cait points towards the east. IBM's Almaden Research Center is on the hilltop on the right.
Along the way, we see a tarantula next to the road. It is most likely a male looking for a mate, as this is their mating season.
We head back along this level section of the ranch road.
We head back along the canal levee.
Around 2:00, we approach the end of the hike below the Calero Dam and the Almaden-Calero Canal. Our total distance for this hike was about 6.1 miles.
Rancho San Vicente, Spring 2012
These pictures show how Rancho San Vicente looks in the springtime.
This was taken on 4/14/12. The hills were covered with wildflowers. This is from the side of the peak overlooking Calero Reservoir.