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Franciscan Loop Trail

Easy
 4.0 (2)

A trail through a shaded wood on the edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains.


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Map Key

1.5

Miles

2.3

KM

Point to Point

2,227' 679 m

High

1,957' 597 m

Low

246' 75 m

Up

276' 84 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers

The Los Trances Preserve is open year round from dawn until half an hour past sunset. Bicyclists are not allowed on the trail, so it makes it for good hiking. These trails are rarely busy, so you can find solitude.

Description

The Franciscan Loop Trail departs the parking lot on Page Mill Road to the left. If you go straight out of the parking lot, you'll miss the best views in the preserve. The trail climbs gently as it works its way up a small hill before emerging at a bench where there are stunning views of the bay area. You can see various cities off in the distance, as well as the San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains off to the left. The trail winds back to the right and meets up with the trail from the parking lot. Staying to the left, the trail reaches a fork, where you can either go left or right. It is better to stay to the left, as the trail begins to descend steeply into the preserve as it enters the woods. You can go the other way, but you have a steep climb on the way back.

As you descend into the preserve, you can see wildflowers blooming in the spring time. You'll pass an electrical tower as the trail descends steeply into the preserve. The trail levels off and comes to a clearing where the Lost Creek Loop Trail goes off the left and the Franciscan Loop Trail goes to the right. It hairpins back and begins to climb along a small ridge. The path works its way through an area full of moss covered rocks before turning back and following the ridge that slowly descends towards a fork in the trail where the Franciscan Loop Trail goes off to the right and the Page Mill Trail continues straight ahead.

From this point, the trail climbs back up hill toward Page Mill Road. The trail meanders through the woods before it open up to a small field, where deer and turkeys can be seen feeding in the evening. The trail works its way back to the parking lot, passing the San Andreas Fault Trail, which breaks off to the right. The trail finally emerges back at the parking lot where you started.

The trails are not traveled heavily, so you are likely able to hike the entire trail without seeing another person, making it a great escape.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, turkeys, woodpeckers, hawks, and squirrels can be seen throughout the trail, especially in the evenings at feeding time.

Contacts

Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#10191

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#1,095

in California

#10,191

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36 Views Last Month
412 Since May 29, 2016
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Photos

The trail forks here.  The Franciscan Loop Trail goes off to the right while the Page Mill Trail can be accessed to the left.
Sep 24, 2016 near Los Alt…, CA
The best view in the preserve allows you to see the San Francisco Bay, cities of the bay area, and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Sep 24, 2016 near Ladera, CA
The San Andreas Fault Trail breaks off to the left and works it's way into the woods.  The bench offers a place to rest.
Sep 24, 2016 near Los Alt…, CA
The trail as it leads to to a vista where you get great views of the bay area.
Sep 24, 2016 near Los Alt…, CA
Franciscan Loop Trail.
Sep 28, 2016 near Los Alt…, CA
Old farm equipment sits rusting off to the side of the trail.
Sep 24, 2016 near Los Alt…, CA

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Check-Ins

May 10, 2020
Duncan MacCannell
Mar 3, 2019
Susanne Dubuisson
Sep 18, 2016
David Hitchcock
May 29, 2016
David Hitchcock
1.5mi