St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve

Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Dogs on Leash
Restrooms

Overview

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.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. 

Dog Access: Leashed dogs are allowed on all trails at this Preserve.

Gallery

Features

  • 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 1,253-foot St. Joseph's Hill features panoramic views of Santa Clara Valley, Lexington Reservoir, El Sereno, and the impressive Sierra Azul mountain range. 

How to Get Here

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.

Get driving directions:

 

Trails

Trails

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.

 

Trail Conditions

No trail conditions to report.

This information is updated as needed when trails are opened or closed, or when there is scheduled trail maintenance. Visit the full Trail Conditions page for more information.

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.

Regulations

  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed only 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 permittedIn accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Midpen accommodates service dogs in Preserves wherever we allow public access. For more information visit the Dog Access page.
  • Bicycles: Are allowed on designated trails only (those shown on the map for bicycle use). Helmets are required. Observe the 15 mph trail speed limit (5 mph when passing). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Permits: A use permit is required for any activity or event which: may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR is advertised or noticed in any publication, poster, electronic posting or flyer; OR requests/requires a fee be paid for participation. Visit the Permit page for more information.
     
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Weapons: All weapons are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. If you encounter wildlife during a visit, do not approach, startle or feed it. Although wild animals are generally fearful of humans and will run away, some wildlife can be dangerous. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Overview

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.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. 

Dog Access: Leashed dogs are allowed on all trails at this Preserve.

Features

  • 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 1,253-foot St. Joseph's Hill features panoramic views of Santa Clara Valley, Lexington Reservoir, El Sereno, 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.

Get driving directions:

 

Trails

Trails

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.

 

Trail Conditions

No trail conditions to report.

This information is updated as needed when trails are opened or closed, or when there is scheduled trail maintenance. Visit the full Trail Conditions page for more information.

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.

  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed only 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 permittedIn accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Midpen accommodates service dogs in Preserves wherever we allow public access. For more information visit the Dog Access page.
  • Bicycles: Are allowed on designated trails only (those shown on the map for bicycle use). Helmets are required. Observe the 15 mph trail speed limit (5 mph when passing). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Permits: A use permit is required for any activity or event which: may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR is advertised or noticed in any publication, poster, electronic posting or flyer; OR requests/requires a fee be paid for participation. Visit the Permit page for more information.
     
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Weapons: All weapons are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. If you encounter wildlife during a visit, do not approach, startle or feed it. Although wild animals are generally fearful of humans and will run away, some wildlife can be dangerous. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Download Preserve Map

Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Dogs on Leash
Restrooms

Hours

Preserves are open from one-half hour before official sunrise until one-half hour after official sunset.

Preserve Activities