Bear Creek Redwoods

A comprehensive plan was recently completed for the 1,432-acre Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, located five miles south of Los Gatos. The preserve, with its shaded fir and redwood forests, cool perennial creeks, and spectacular views of the Sierra Azul Range is targeted to open to general public use in late 2018.  

The Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve Plan is a long-term use and management plan for the Preserve. Stewardship actions, including habitat restoration, erosion reduction to protect the watershed, and cultural resources protection are given the highest priority. The Preserve Plan also includes three new parking areas, new and reconstructed hiking and equestrian trails, and a multi-use trail connecting Lexington Basin to the Skyline-Summit Area, to be implemented in three phases.  

Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve Plan

Preserve Plan Key Actions
Phase I (Years 1-3)

  • Implement high priority resource management projects, including invasive species removal, drainage improvements to reduce erosion, and pond stabilization;
  • Construct the Alma College Parking Area; formalize an at-grade pedestrian crossing of Bear Creek Road; 
  • Open the western Preserve to hiking and equestrian access;
  • Begin high priority improvements to Bear Creek Stables to expand public use, project natural resources, and upgrade boarding facilities;
  • Begin rehabilitation of the Alma College Cultural Landscape (dependent on approval of permits) or upgrade perimeter fencing as needed to restrict access.  

Phase II (Year 4-10)

  • Open eastern zone to general hiking and equestrian access; 
  • Construct the northern segment of the new multi-use through trail, formalize connections to Lexington County Park and the Skyline-Summit area; and open to hiking, equestrian, and bicycle use; 
  • Continue improvements to Bear Creek Stables;
  • Continue rehabilitation of the Alma College Cultural Landscape. 

Phase III (Years 11-20)

  • Construct approximately three (3) miles of new trail to complete a connection to Summit Road in the eastern Preserve zone;
  • Construct north Parking area, if necessary.

Planned Public Access

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Preserve Plan Approval Presentation - January 25, 2017


Download Presentation

Preserve Plan Open House Recap - April 29, 2015

Email questions or comments to, or call Project Manager Lisa Bankosh at (650) 691-1200

Bear Creek Stables Site Plan

This long-term management plan will:

  • Emphasize the protection of the site’s natural resources
  • Maximize public benefit by broadening public access and use of the facility
  • Develop a viable plan that is financially feasible for both a long-term tenant and the District.

This plan will incorporate resource analysis and public input to evaluate potential uses and identify improvements to be made at the site.

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Bear Creek Stables Site Plan Meetings

Thank you for your participation at the Bear Creek Stables public meetings! Here’s a recap:

  • Input and ideas on the future of Bear Creek Stables were recorded at the open house on Monday, March 16, 2015. Download meeting materials
  • Design concepts were created by consultants from Populous on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 to reflect the public’s vision of the site.
  • Design concepts were presented to the public at the meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 for feedback on how accurately the consultants understood the public input received on Monday, and to begin creating the site design alternatives. Download design concepts
  • Preliminary Site Design Alternatives were presented to the Planning and Natural Resources Committee on April 29, 2015. Download Preliminary Site Design Alternatives
  • Site Design Alternatives were presented to the Planning and Natural Resources Committee on September 29, 2015. Download the Board Report
  • Site Design Alternatives were presented to the Board of Directors on February 24, 2016. Download the Board Report
  • Alternate A2 was selected by the Board of Directors on July 7, 2016 as the preferred alternative for inclusion in the Preserve Plan and analysis in the EIR. Download the Board Report

Send feedback on the Site Design Alternatives Project to

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Alma College Landscape Rehabilitation Plan

The former Alma College site is an historic district currently listed on the Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory, and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  Given this status, any future use of the site must include the protection of cultural resources, or alternatively, mitigate for the alteration and/or removal of such resources.  Because the site is located at a prominent future access point for Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, the disposition of the site is critical to opening the Preserve to the public. 

The Alma College Landscape Rehabilitation Plan will conform to National Park Service Guidelines for Rehabilitating Cultural Landscapes that:

  • retains its distinctive features and spatial relationships
  • preserves the historic character of the property, and
  • preserves historic structures that retain integrity and significance to the cultural landscape.

At the same time, the Rehabilitation Plan must balance these objectives with the District’s mission “to protect and restore the natural environment, and provide opportunities for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education.”  The identification of potential partnerships and other funding opportunities to restore and/or operate retained structures is integral to the rehabilitation plan.

On June 2, the consultant for the Alma College Rehabilitation Plan, PGA Design, will present the preliminary site-reuse schemes for review and comment.