Trail receding into distant hills

St. Joseph's Hill Preserve

St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve (Midpen staff)

Overview

Serving as a scenic backdrop to the town of Los Gatos, St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve protects 273-acres of open space land on top of the 1,250-foot hill from which it takes its name. Providing a quick escape from nearby urban areas of the southern peninsula, the historic property begins about a mile from Los Gatos's popular downtown business district. Entered from the north through Los Gatos's Novitiate Park or from the south through Santa Clara County Parks' Lexington Reservoir County Park, the preserve is open for hiking and dog walking, as well as biking and horseback riding on designated trails.

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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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Dogs on Leash: All Trails
Dogs on Leash: All Trails
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No Easy Access
No Easy Access
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Camping: No Camping
Camping: No Camping
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Restrooms: Not Available
Restrooms: Not Available

Preserve Highlights & Features

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Lexington Reservoir from St. Joseph's Hill / photo by Peter Reinold
Lexington Reservoir from St. Joseph's Hill (Peter Reinold)

Vista Point

The steep climb to the top of St. Joseph's Hill is rewarded with panoramic views of Santa Clara Valley, Lexington Reservoir and El Sereno and Sierra Azul Preserves.

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. 

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YIELD. Bicycles yield to hikers and equestrians. HIkers yield to equestrians.

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. 

History

The Preserve and surrounding Los Gatos Creek area are rich in history, and home to a colorful cast, including native Ohlone people, California Mission founders, the Jesuits, and early settlers such as "Mountain Charley" McKiernan. The Preserve consists of 170-acres purchased jointly by the District and the Town of Los Gatos in 1982.