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Kennedy Trail



5.5 mile 8.8 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,160' 658 m
Descent: -122' -37 m
High: 2,871' 875 m
Low: 808' 246 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)


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Trail shared by Joan Pendleton

A fire road trail that climbs into the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Joan Pendleton

Features Views


The Kennedy Trail starts from a small parking area on Kennedy Road. This is in a sparsely populated residential area.

The trail starts off through the woods, behind occasional houses and out-buildings. After a short while, the trail begins to climb a ridge, and climbs continuously until it reaches the ridge top. Although the trail is wooded, the trees are not dense, and all of the heavily populated San Francisco Bay Area can be seen through the trees.

As the trail climbs, the woods give way to brush. About four miles from its trailhead, Kennedy Trail meets the Priest Rock Trail. At this trail junction, views of the Santa Cruz Mountains emerge to the south.

After passing the Priest Rock Trail, Kennedy Trail continues through brush along the ridge top. The continual climb is over, as the Kennedy Trail descends for a short ways, and then continues with gradual ascents and descents, following along the top of the ridge. Views are awesome - San Jose and its surrounding countryside all the way to the East Bay Hills can be seen to the left. The rugged Santa Cruz Mountains can be seen to the right.

Ahead lies a high ridge where Kennedy Trail meets the Limekiln Trail and Woods Trail as it ends near Mt. El Sombroso (2,999 ft.), 5.5 miles from its trailhead. Once you've enjoyed your journey, retrace your steps to return to the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Wooded, brush. Deer.

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Aug 12, 2017
Bec Osborne
went to first intersection
Mar 1, 2017
Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

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in California


130 Views Last Month
4,959 Since Feb 26, 2017



Mt. Umunhum in the distance on the left, Mt. Thayer closer, on the right, as Kennedy Trail approaches its final climb to end near Mt. El Sombroso in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Feb 24, 2017 near Lexingt…, CA
Enjoy stunning views from the Priest Rock / Kennedy Trail intersection.
Feb 7, 2017 near Lexingt…, CA
Quicksilver Park hills of Capitancillos Ridge, South San Jose, and the East Bay Hills in the distance, as seen looking northeast from high on Kennedy Trail
Feb 24, 2017 near Lexingt…, CA
Mt. El Sombroso at 2,999 ft in the Santa Cruz Mountains is the highest point on the farthest ridge (center right).
Mar 2, 2017 near Cambria…, CA
Enjoy a bird's-eye view of Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and the surrounding hills. Most of this video was taken at the intersection of the Kennedy and Priest Rock trails.
Mar 1, 2017 near Lexingt…, CA
Looking northeast on Kennedy Trail, Mt. Hamilton (4,265 ft.) stands in the distance with San Jose peeking through the trees below.
Mar 2, 2017 near Los Gatos, CA


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