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Monte Bello Open Space Preserve

Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is a 3,133-acre open space preserve, located near Palo Alto in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in San Mateo and Santa … See more


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Jun 29, 2021
Great open space hike with very well defined trails. Be sure to take water and avoid the heat of the day because there is no protection. Full review by Coastman3
May 29, 2019
Absolutely beautiful trail and Beautiful Scenery. Be cautious of the Signage, as it gets a little confusing. Some of the sights show it being part of the San Andreas Fault line, and you do see some o… Full review by E8854RSsamm
Jan 25, 2018
It is a great place to go for hiking Trails are over hills with breathtaking up and down! You can't take the stroller; it is a bit more professional than family trails try to avoid sunshine; it is re… Full review by hosnegar


Black Mountain Backpack Camp
Despite the abundance of preserves and parks in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco, most do not allow overnight stays. Black Mountain Backpack Camp is one of the welcome exceptions. Situated in the charming Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Black Mountain is just a short drive from Silicon Valley population centers and is the closest, most convenient place for the tech-weary to go for a campout and some fresh air.Camping on Black Mountain requires a reservation, but the online reservation system is simple to use and the sites are a bargain at $2 per person per night. The camp has sites for individuals and groups, making it great for either a spontaneous getaway or a planned excursion. The preserve does not allow campfires, but stories can be told around an illuminated Nalgene or makeshift lantern just as well. Water is available at the camp, but it is not ready to drink from the pump: either filter it or bring enough for your stay. There are great trails with views of Silicon Valley to the east and wild, open spaces to the west, but be sure to explore them during the day: outside of camp, the preserve closes a half hour after sunset.Availability is usually excellent during the week, making Black Mountain the perfect place for a mid-week microadventure. Leave work early enough to arrive at the parking lot before dusk, then hustle up the short 1.5-mile hike to the campsite, enjoying nice views of the sun setting over Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Make some dinner, stargaze, get some sleep, then rise with the sun and get back to your desk in time for another day at the grind.
Features Excellent Mountain Biking
Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is a 3,133-acre open space preserve, located near Palo Alto in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, California. The preserve encompasses the upper Stevens Creek watershed in the valley between Monte Bello Ridge and Skyline Ridge. "Monte Bello" means "beautiful mountain" in Italian, and refers to Black Mountain which is the highest part of Montebello Ridge. The straight valley of upper Stevens Creek is also the rift valley of the San Andreas Fault. Hiking and Recreation: The Preserve connects upper Stevens Creek County Park with Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve, and Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, enabling many different long hike combinations. Monte Bello boasts grassland, Douglas fir, live oak, and California bay forests, an excellent riparian corridor, great views, and a backpack camp. The preserve contains about 15.5 miles of hiking trails, including some that are wheelchair accessible. The Canyon Trail leads through a grove of English walnuts from the Preserve entrance on Page Mill Road, to a sag pond formed by faults and fed by a spring on Monte Bello Ridge. The Stevens Creek Nature Trail, with a self-guided 3-mile loop with interpretation, which descends into the forested canyon, continues along the creek, and heads back up through grasslands. The Black Mountain Backpack Camp, the only campsite on MROSD lands, 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. There are bathrooms but no potable water. A permit is required but this camp makes it possible to take a multi-Day hike from the Santa Clara Valley to the coast. The Preserve features excellent mountain biking including a descent from the preserve's main entrance on Page Mill Road via the Canyon Trail to Stevens Creek Road and ultimately, Stevens Creek Reservoir. Alternatively several trails climb to the top of 2,800-foot Black Mountain. The preserve's main entrance is on Page Mill Road, 7 miles west of Highway 280 and 1.5 miles east of Skyline Boulevard. Parking is available for 45 cars. Additional parking is available at the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve parking area, located directly across Page Mill Road.

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Data from: Wikipedia
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