Hike by Janet Binaksi, originally published in the April 2007 issue of Bay Nature Magazine
Ten miles south of downtown San Jose sits Santa Teresa Park, an island of rolling hills and lush greenery just past the suburban sameness of tract homes and strip malls on Bernal Road. Spring is prime time here in the Santa Teresa Hills, when the open land is dotted with native wildflowers, including goldfields, tidytips, jewelflower, and poppies.
The park has over 18 miles of trails for equestrians, hikers, and bicyclists. The main trailhead at Santa Teresa is about 500 feet in elevation. The highest point in the park, Coyote Peak, is 1,155 feet and offers a great view of the park and surrounding area, and can be enjoyed via a 3.7 mile loop hike. Of the several trails up to the peak, the most direct is the Hidden Springs Trail from the Pueblo day use area.
The Pueblo Group Picnic Area, near the entrance, has restrooms and drinking fountains. The trails are wide and hard-packed dirt, but some of the signage is scarce, so it's good to keep the map with you. Trail maps are available at the group picnic area.
Getting there: Take U.S. 101 or Highway 85 to the Bernal Road exit. Drive west about 1.3 miles on Bernal, past Santa Teresa Boulevard, into the park. Continue uphill, and turn left, following signs for the picnic area. $4 entrance fee. Park is open year-round, 8 a.m. to sunset.