Dogs No Dogs
Birding · Views · Wildlife
Rancho San Antonio Preserve is open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset throughout the year.
The Coyote Creek, Lower Meadow, and Permanente Creek Trail
loop provides a great hike for everyone. The trail departs the parking area and climbs up Coyote Trail
along a wide gravel path. Looking down the hillside, you may see deer, turkeys or hawks and owls feeding in the evenings. When the trail reaches the ridge line, you can get a good view of the hills and Deer Hollow Farm from this point.
It is a great place to watch the sunset in the evenings. From here, the trail narrows to a singletrack dirt trail that winds through the preserve beneath the shade of the forest around you. You may see deer feeding on the hillsides as you make your way down the Coyote Trail
. While the Coyote Trail
ends at the junction of the High Meadow Trail
, you can take a right and make your way down to the Lower Meadow Trail
. Here, the trail passes through Deer Hollow Farm where the kids can look at various farm animals that are in the pens.
The trail is wide and a mix of dirt, gravel, and pavement through this area. The trail is popular with families, bike riders, and hikers, so it will be busy whenever you hike. The trail crosses over the creek and works its way back toward the parking lot. Again, you may see deer, turkeys, and other animals that call the preserve home as you hike through the fields along the Lower Meadow Trail
By taking the Permanente Creek Trail
, you'll follow the creek on along a gravel trail back to where you started your hike. This is a nice three-mile loop that can be done in a relatively short amount of time that allows you to enjoy wildlife and views, while getting in a good workout.
Need to Know
Poison oak does grow along sections of the trail, so be on the lookout especially if you have kids running around. The trail is popular, so there will be lots of people along the trail no matter what time of day it is. The trail is also open to equestrians, so be mindful of what is going on around you.
The trail starts at the parking lot along Permanente Creek that you access right when you come into Rancho San Antonio. The trail crosses over the creek via a bridge, and then the gravel trail winds its way uphill for roughly half a mile. You may see deer, turkeys, owls, and other birds in the fields below you as you climb. Those with a sharp eye may even see the remains of old farm vehicles that have been left here over there years.
The trail reaches a junction with the Stephen E. Abbors Trail
and the Hill Trail
. The Coyote Trail
continues to the left slightly and narrows to a singletrack dirt trail. The trail winds through the woods in a gradual downhill slope for almost a mile. The trail is shaded at this point providing a nice break from the sun if you are hiking in the heat of the day. You'll pass two bypass trails as you get close to the end of the trail that lead down to Deer Hollow Farm, so if you want to cut your hike a little short, you can take either one of these.
The Coyote Trail
ends at the junction of the Wildcat Loop Trail
and High Meadow Trail
, and here you need to take a right to make your way down to the Deer Hollow Farm trail. Take a right and go past the farm where you'll see various animals and a herb garden that are actively maintained by the parks department. The trail crosses over a bridge, and you can either follow a dirt trail or stay on the pavement at this point. A little past two miles, the trail becomes dirt again and works its way through a field where deer, turkeys and coyotes have been seen before.
The trail crosses over the road again and you can follow the trail past the old tennis courts and back toward the parking lots. When you reach the first parking lot, you can break off and follow the South Meadow Trail
back to your car, or keep to the right, cross over the road again and follow the trail along Permanente Creek back. By following the right side of the creek, you may see more wildlife, especially if you are hiking in the evenings.
When you get back to the junction with the Coyote Trail
, take a left, cross the bridge and you'll be back at your car before you know it. Combining these three trails makes a nice 3 + mile hike and is popular with the community.
Flora & Fauna
Deer and Turkeys can be seen almost every evening feeding in the fields between Coyote and Permanente Creek. They can also be seen along the Lower Meadow Trail
. Owls, hawks, harriers, and turkey vultures can be seen hunting over the fields as well. The trail travels through an oak forest, so you can see a variety of trees and bushes common in that ecosystem.
History & Background
Rancho San Antonio was inhabited by the Ohlone Indians originally before it was taken over by Mexico. The land was granted to Juan Prado Mesa in 1839 by Governor Alvarado. Once California became part of the US, the land was purchased by William Dana, a merchant and seafarer. It then passed to John and Martha Snyder in 1861, where they lived until she died in 1919. The Catholic Church purchased the land and constructed Saint Joseph's Seminary and Maryknoll Seminary. In 1977 and again in 1981, the Santa Clara County Parks Department purchased 165 acres to form the park, making improvements over the course of time.
Shared By: David Hitchcock