The Hammond-Snyder Loop Trail
weaves in and out of Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve and provides some great views from some of the hills in the preserve. From the south parking lot in the San Antonio Open Space Preserve, follow the paved bike trail straight ahead as it makes its way along the fence line of the Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery.
At roughly .4 miles, the trail leaves the pavement and follows a singletrack dirt trail that follows the power lines and edge of the cemetery. Descending as it goes for roughly .2 miles, wildflowers can be seen growing in the open areas both inside and outside the cemetery boundary. The trail cuts to the left and climbs uphill between the chain link fence of the cemetery on the left and the chain link fence of the PG&E substation on the right.
As it approaches a residential area, the trail narrows and works its way along a wooden fence that separates the trail from private property. Emerging on Canyon Oak Way, take a right and follow the sidewalk downhill until you get to Madrone Way, where you take a right and follow the road toward the end of the cul-de-sac. Before you reach the end, the trail breaks off on the right side of the road (there's a marker) and climbs a hill above the residences and re-entering the Rancho San Antonio Preserve.
The trail descends through the fields here, and at roughly 1.1 miles, a side trail breaks off to the right that leads out to private property. Now climbing up the hillside, the trail works its way through the meadow up the hill until a trail breaks back to the left that leads to the summit. The best views of the South Bay on this hike are found here, as well as information about the Juan Bautista de Anza, who stood on the hill in 1776 taking in the views of the surrounding area and Ohlone village found here.
After taking in the views, reading up on the de Anza Trail, and possibly enjoying a rest on the bench found here, follow the trail as it approaches Cristo Rey Drive, passing over a fire road at 1.6 miles. The trail follows the road for a short time, then climbs a hill and emerges at a traffic roundabout at 2.1 miles, where two small man-made ponds sit on the right, and the trail becomes pavement again. As you renter the preserve, views of Rancho San Antonio and the surrounding hills stretch before you until the trail descends back to the parking lot where you started.
Wildflowers can be seen along the trail on the backside of the cemetery.