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All Midpen Preserves are open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year from dawn until one-half hour after sunset.
The 3,988-acre Open Space Preserve, combined with the adjoining 165-acre County Park, offers visitors a unique experience with a sampling of diverse environments, interesting cultural history, and a variety of activities.
Rancho San Antonio County Park is managed by the Open Space District as a result of an Operations and Management Agreement with the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department. Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve provide formal and informal recreational opportunities. If you are planning a group visit, please contact the District at 650-691-1200 to obtain a permit. Permits are required for any group of 20 or more that is pre-advertised and is a requested or required fee-based activity.
Rancho County Park
At Rancho San Antonio County Park, the most popular activities are jogging and hiking. Stretching bars are available at the restroom parking area and equestrian staging area. The park provides hiking, bicycling, and equestrian trails, which connect with additional trails within the Open Space Preserve. Bicycles are restricted to designated trails only, and are not permitted west of Deer Hollow Farm. Similarly, equestrians are limited to the equestrian staging area and Coyote Trail, within the County Park.
The South Meadow area, located in the County Park and adjacent to the parking areas, provides opportunities for informal play on a "rough grass" area. Non-gas powered model airplane enthusiasts use a staging area adjacent to the parking lots near the park entrance for take-offs and landings and fly their aircraft above the South Meadow area. The equestrian staging area is also located adjacent to the South Meadow, which includes a horse-watering trough.
The North Meadow area, across Permanente Creek from the parking and staging areas, provides an informal irrigated meadow grass play area along with four tennis courts. The North Meadow includes a small number of picnic tables and barbecues. The picnic area is on a first-come, first-serve basis and the maximum group size for the area is 25 people.
Open Space Preserve
The preserve's extensive 23 miles of trails are available for exploration, whether one chooses to hike (dogs, however, are NOT permitted), bike, or horseback ride. Trails can be combined to form loops of different lengths and difficulties including the 3-mile Wildcat Loop Trail and the 4-mile Black Mountain Trail, To get to the northern part of the preserve from the valley floor, take the 2.1-mile Chamise Trail, which ascends gradually to a tranquil, secluded meadow in the Duveneck Windmill Pasture Area. This was once the location of a picturesque windmill from former ranch days when cattle freely roamed the hillsides. Visitors can now picnic amid fields of grass in the shadow of Monte Bello Ridge and Black Mountain. A major part of this area was a gift from Frank and Josephine Duveneck, and adjoins Hidden Villa Ranch, a non-profit environmental education facility.
A highlight of the preserve is Deer Hollow Farm, a working farm with a cow, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, other animals, and an organic garden as well as numerous turn-of-the-century ranch buildings. An additional attraction is the restored Grant Cabin, furnished to represent living conditions in the late 1800s.
HOW TO GET THERE
From I-280, north or south, take the Foothill Boulevard exit and proceed south on Foothill Boulevard approximately 0.2-mile to Cristo Rey Drive. Turn right on Cristo Rey Drive, continue for about 1 mile, veer right around the traffic circle, and turn left into the County Park entrance. There are several parking lots, including one designated for equestrian trailers. The trailhead for the preserve is located adjacent to the 85-car parking area in the northwest lot.
The Hammond-Snyder Trail is currently OPEN to 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.
Last updated on: 6/20/2014