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This trail through the woods and grass hills along Calero Reservoir follows a creek upstream to reach Cottle Rest Site.

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Point to Point

862' 263 m


496' 151 m


525' 160 m


217' 66 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The park is open 8 a.m. to sunset. There is no fee when parking in the trailhead parking area.


There are several ways to access Cottle Trail. The easiest access to Cottle Trail is from the Rancho San Vicente Entrance trailhead parking area along McKean Road at the northwest edge of Calero County Park. From this parking area, take Lisa Killough Trail for 0.6 miles to the starting point of Cottle Trail.

Alternatively, one can access Cottle Trail at a trail junction in its midsection from the trailhead parking area on the east side of Calero Park at the Main Park Entrance off of McKean Road. To get to this trail junction from this trailhead parking area, take the Access Trail, then either Pena Trail or Figueroa Trail to Serpentine Loop Trail followed by the Serpentine Loop Trail Connector, which ends at the Cottle Trail junction. See the trail descriptions for these other trails.

From its starting point on Lisa Killough Trail, Cottle Trail meanders through the grass of a thinly wooded hillside for its first 1.3 miles. The trail is fairly flat here and shaded by oak trees. The first views of Calero Reservoir are at about the 0.6 mile mark.

After 1.3 miles, Cottle Trail arrives at Calero Reservoir on the hillside above the Calero Reservoir dam. From here, the trail goes through wooded and grass sections as it follows the reservoir's western shoreline for the trail's next 1.3 miles. To the left of the trail, the reservoir can be seen below, nestled among the grass and wooded hills of Calero County Park.

Leaving the reservoir behind, Cottle Trail follows a broad, grassy creek valley. This valley, housing Cherry Canyon Creek, is one of several that feed water into Calero Reservoir. About 2.9 miles from the trail start, you'll find the trail junction with Serpentine Loop Trail Connector and Lisa Killough Trail.

After passing the trail junction, Cottle Trail enters the woods and follows Cherry Canyon Creek upstream. The trail crosses the creek three times as the creek valley narrows and its densely wooded sides steepen. As the creek approaches its headwaters around mile 3.3, the trail begins a steep climb. At about mile 3.7, the trail veers left to climb up out of the creek valley. A small high meadow is soon reached. At the end of the meadow is the Cottle Rest Site with a picnic table, horse-watering trough, and hitching post. This is a great place to take a break after the steep climb and long hike to get here.

The Cottle Rest Site marks the end of the Cottle Trail and the beginning of the Chisnantuck Peak Trail that leads higher up Bald Peak.

Flora & Fauna

Oaks, buckeye trees, and manzanita woods can be found here. Ferns and other dense vegetation grows along the creek. Grass hills are abundant, often with deer, ducks, geese, hawks, wild turkeys and other birds in the area.


Land Manager: Santa Clara County Parks

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  2.7 from 3 votes


  2.7 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings


in California


2 Views Last Month
1,086 Since Jan 26, 2018
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Calero Reservoir near the dam, as seen from Cottle Trail.
Jan 26, 2018 near Almaden…, CA
Cottle Trail ends after running through a high meadow nestled among the forested foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Jan 26, 2018 near Almaden…, CA
Calero Reservoir from Cottle Trail.
Jan 26, 2018 near Almaden…, CA
Cottle Trail meanders along a shaded grass hillside on its way to Calero Reservoir.
Mar 30, 2018 near Almaden…, CA
Spring wildflowers in the grass hills of Cottle Trail.
Mar 30, 2018 near Almaden…, CA
Cherry Canyon Creek at a Cottle Trail crossing.
Jan 26, 2018 near Almaden…, CA



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jun 20, 2022
Viktor B
Apr 10, 2021
Private User
Sep 27, 2020
Patti Jai
A Lot of bikers, some parts are stretch and is hard to run with the bikers. Elevation hard for Lucy. A must to go when it is green — 9h 00m
Sep 8, 2019
Apr 29, 2018
Tilman Giese
Jan 25, 2018
Joan Pendleton

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