Monte Bello Ridge

Monte Bello Preserve

Monte Bello Ridge by Chad Frost

Overview

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 Midpen'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. Black Mountain offers visitors incredible views of Santa Clara Valley and over to the Mt. Hamilton range.

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Hiking: All Trails
Hiking: All Trails
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Bicycling: Designated Trails
Bicycling: Designated Trails
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Equestrian: Designated Trails
Equestrian: Designated Trails
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Easy Access: Designated Trails
Easy Access: Designated Trails
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Camping: Designated Areas
Camping: Designated Areas
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Restrooms: Available
Restrooms: Available
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Kid Friendly
Kid Friendly

Preserve Highlights & Features

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Black Mountain Backpack Camp
Black Mountain Backpack Camp

Black Mountain Backpack Camp

Midpen's only campsite 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. 

Stories from the Preserves

Nature

Here are some of the plants and animals that other visitors have observed at this preserve and recorded in iNaturalist. Protected species may be excluded and some species may not yet have been observed. Help improve iNaturalist by adding your observations to the Midpen Biodiversity Index project

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Know Before You Go

Preserve regulations help provide a safe, enjoyable visit while protecting sensitive areas and wildlife. 

Share the Trail 

  • Use designated trails to avoid damage to natural resources and prevent injury. 

  • Avoid blocking the trail. Step aside to allow others to pass .  

  • Whether you’re walking or biking, always yield to equestrians. 

  • Leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in. Most preserves do not have trash cans. Littering is prohibited. 

  • Abuses of trail etiquette should be brought to the attention of a ranger or call the Midpen main office at 650-691-1200. 

Activities & Events

There are currently no events scheduled.

History

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.