Villa Montalvo County Park turns out to be a fabulous place to hike. Today I did a quick short hike in Saratoga, CA. The hike was amazing!
I chose this hike because I was looking for new places to hike and came across the “Magnificent 7 Hikes” challenge in Santa Clara County. This was the shortest of the hikes, but there are 7 and upon completion, you can earn a tee shirt from the parks department. The goal is to complete all 7 hikes and take a selfie photo at each designated location. How fun does that sound!?
I had never heard about Villa Montalvo before, but was interested because of the challenge and it was on my drive back to Oakland from Santa Cruz. Some of the other parks are ones that I have wanted to hike in the past, and this gives me the incentive to try the trails there.
Villa Montalvo was once a historical estate that has since been donated
to the Santa Clara parks department. There is a theater where there are performances, and there are gorgeous gardens, and there are trails that rise up into the Santa Cruz mountains with views of the bay area.
The Lookout Trail climbs swiftly up the hill to a beautiful lookout point. I love these short hikes where there are lots of people, it feels very safe to hike and pass people every few minutes along the way. The Lookout Trail is steep and the slow rise to the lookout point passes through poison ivy, wildflowers, redwoods, and ferns.
Once reaching the top, the view is breathtaking! I could see
the bay. I could see downtown San Jose. I could see all the way to Oakland! The Mormon temple is visible on a semi-clear day.
The hike back down is lovely as well. The trail is a loop and passes down along a ravine where the water from the recent storms was flowing loudly. I passed an area where a poem was posted. And then past an art installation. The Montalvo family was very supportive of art and artists.
At the bottom of the hike, I passed through the main buildings of the estate. The buildings had wisteria in bloom along the terraces and was very peaceful and serene to walk
though in the late cool morning.
I made it back to the car in about 45 minutes, which is a quick hike for me. But so lovely, and like always, I left a section of the park unexplored for another trip!
Anyone else out there planning to complete the “Magnificent 7”? We have until December 1!
Mileage: 1.7 mi
Trails: Lookout Trail
Start/end: Parking lot 4