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St. Joseph's Hill St. Joseph's Hill

All Midpen Preserves are open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year from dawn until one-half hour after sunset.

Overview | Directions and Parking | Trails | History | Regulations


One of the distinctive scenic backdrops to the Town of Los Gatos is the 270-acre St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve, which provides a quick escape from the nearby urban areas of the southern peninsula. Steep trails wind through grassland, chaparral, and oak woodland, offering an interesting variety of environments.

The purchase of St. Joseph's Hill in 1982 was a joint project between the District and the Town of Los Gatos.


St. Joseph's Hill

  • St. Joseph's Hill is a popular destination, offering trails that will challenge hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians.

  • At the eastern edge of the preserve, the top of 1,250-foot St. Joseph's Hill features panoramic views of Santa Clara Valley, Lexington Reservoir, and the impressive Sierra Azul mountain range.



From southbound Highway 17, take the Bear Creek Road exit, cross over the highway, and go 0.4 miles north on Highway 17 to Alma Bridge Road. Proceed across the dam to the parking area at Lexington Reservoir County Park (there is a parking fee). The trail to St. Joseph’s Hill starts opposite the boat launching area at the north end of the reservoir.



There are a number of regional trails that provide access to St. Joseph's Hill and other nearby open space areas.

The Los Gatos Creek Trail provides a connection from the City of San Jose directly into Los Gatos. From there, the popular Jones Trail connects Novitiate Park to St. Joseph's Hill, then to Santa Clara County's Lexington Reservoir County Park.

Download a map of St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve



A portion of the Jones Trail follows the historic alignment of Jones Road, which was used in the last century by stagecoaches and pack teams. This was an important route, bringing people, supplies, and equipment over the precipitous St. Joseph's Hill and then down into Los Gatos.

The purchase of St. Joseph's Hill in 1982 was a joint project between the District and the Town of Los Gatos.



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.
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on designated trails in this preserve. Must be controlled on a maximum 6-foot leash at all times. Dogs are allowed only in designated preserves or areas as posted. Dog walkers are required to bag and remove all dog waste from the Preserve by packing it out. Moving dog waste off trail is not permitted. Download Dog Access Guidelinespdf
  • 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 Guidelinespdf
  • 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 Guidelinespdf
  • 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.
Download District Regulations and Ordinancespdf


Latest News
Ancient Oaks Trail Extension Now Open! The new trail is the final phase of the POST-funded Mindego Gateway Project, and connects the new Mindego Parking Lot with Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve’s popular multi-use trail network.  More>>


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Dog Access Guidelines

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