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Kennedy Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.0 (6)

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


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Map Key

5.5

Miles

8.8

KM

Point to Point

2,871' 875 m

High

808' 246 m

Low

2,160' 658 m

Up

122' 37 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers

Description

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. Wildflowers. Butterflies. Heavy Poison Oak.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton with improvements by Bill Bumgarner

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 6 votes

#9457

Overall
  4.0 from 6 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#885

in California

#9,457

Overall
174 Views Last Month
13,530 Since Feb 26, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
43%
14%
43%
0%

Photos

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
This tree marks a popular turnaround point about 2.4 miles into the Kennedy Trail from the northern parking area.
Feb 28, 2017 near Cambria…, 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
View of the lower part of Kennedy Trail from an overlook point nearly halfway up the 4.1 mile first section of trail.
Apr 16, 2021 near Los Gatos, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 36 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Nov 26, 2021
Mike Nugent
2m in and back
Apr 16, 2021
Bill Bumgarner
First hike on this trail. Late start, so short hike. Wildflowers were in bloom. 4.1mi — 1h 51m
Nov 22, 2020
Francisco Rojas
10h 00m
Apr 11, 2020
Jean R
2mi
Aug 12, 2017
Bec Osborne
went to first intersection
Mar 1, 2017
Joan Pendleton