Italian for “Beautiful Mountain”, Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is a place of rolling grasslands, dense creekside forests, and spectacular vistas. The preserve encompasses the upper Stevens Creek watershed from Monte Bello Ridge to Skyline Ridge. The 3,436-acre preserve is one of the District's richest in wildlife and ecosystem diversity. Monte Bello Preserve is surrounded by other open space preserves and parks, which makes trip options nearly limitless.
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
The preserve's main entrance is on Page Mill Road, 7 miles west of Highway 280 and 1.5 miles east of Skyline Boulevard.
Parking: Lot parking is available for 45 cars, with 2 wheelchair accessible spaces.
*Additional parking is available at the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve parking area, located directly across Page Mill Road.
Get personalized driving directions from Google Maps.
Approximately 15 miles of trails are available to explore.
See incredible views of Santa Clara Valley and over to the Mt. Hamilton range from the top of Black Mountain.
The forest and riparian corridor along Stevens Creek provide a lush environment for many species.
Black Mountain Backpack Camp:
The only campsite on District lands provides visitors with a camping experience just one half-hour away by car from the cities below. The camp is a 1.5-mile hike from Page Mill Road, including a 500-foot uphill climb from the parking lot. A permit is required and the fee is $2 per night per camper. Reservations are Required. Additional Information on Black Mountain Backpack Camp
Stevens Creek Nature Trail:
The self-guided 3-mile loop takes about 3 hours at a leisurely pace. The first segment, beginning from the main parking area, can accommodate a wide array of physical abilities (although it is not officially designated an easy-access trail). This gently sloping segment of trail, which is at an average grade of 5%, takes visitors to a dramatic vista point and to a bench where visitors can sit and look down Stevens Creek Canyon to see Mt. Umunhum and Loma Prieta, the epicenter of the 1989 earthquake. The route descends 450 feet into the headwaters of Stevens Creek, continues along the creek, and returns along the San Andreas Fault. Interpretive signs provide insights to the wonders around you.
The spine of the Monte Bello Preserve trail system is a popular route among bicyclists. From here, several trails connect to the top of the ridges. This old road descends 400 feet from Page Mill Road through cool forests into the Stevens Creek Canyon.
The Bella Vista and Indian Creek Trails:
These trails branch off the Canyon Trail leading to the top of Monte Bello Ridge, on to Black Mountain and connecting to Rancho San Antionio Open Space Preserve.
Grizzly Flat Trail
Branching off of the Canyon Trail the trail travels through Upper Stevens Creek County Park to Skyline Boulevard, connecting to Long Ridge Open Space Preserve.
Monte Bello Ridge and Black Mountain provide the scenic backdrop to the communities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Cupertino. Settlers to this area named one of their towns Mountain View because they had a view of Black Mountain. From the top of Black Mountain, visitors have an incredible view of Santa Clara Valley and the Mt. Hamilton Range. On clear days, visitors can see beautiful sunsets from the Black Mountain backpack camp, or watch the fog roll in from the coast. As the fog breaks like a giant wave over the peninsula, one can see why it is often referred to as “waterfog.”
Dairy ranching was prevalent in this area and Monte Bello Ridge was once dotted with cattle. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, this area was the site of several ranches: the Black Mountain Ranch, the Stevens Creek Road Ranch, and the Monte Bello Ranch. The Waterwheel Creek Trail follows an old ranch road, where remnants of orchards and vineyards can be seen.
Below is a list of some basic regulations that will help to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit.
Hours: Preserves are open a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset.
Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). Download Bicycle Access Guidelines
Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. Riders under 18 years of age are required to wear a helmet on all District land. Download Equestrian Access Guidelines
Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves.
Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution.
Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.
The White Oak Trail, Stevens Creek Nature Trail, and Skid Road Trail are CLOSED to bicycle and equestrian use.
IMPORTANT: Please be aware that seasonal trail closures may change from day to day without notice, based on changing weather conditions. Also note that during winter storm season high waters can make creek crossings hazardous, so plan your outing accordingly.