Arroyo Hondo (Santa Clara County, California)

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Arroyo Hondo is a 13.0-mile-long (20.9 km)[1] river in Santa Clara County, California, United States, that lies east of Milpitas.[2] The area is privately owned by the San Francisco Water Department and is closed to public access because of its usage as drinking water. Bounded to the east by Oak Ridge and to the west by Poverty Ridge, Arroyo Hondo empties into the Calaveras Reservoir. Its main source is on Mount Hamilton.


Arroyo Hondo means "deep creek" in Spanish. Its Isabel Creek tributary is significant in that the Spanish name for Mt. Hamilton was the Sierra de Santa Isabel, and the highest point was then referred to as Mount Isabel instead of Mount Hamilton. When William Henry Brewer and Charles Hoffman of the Whitney Survey climbed the peak on August 26, 1861, they did not know it had a name, and christened it Mt. Hamilton, although they did correctly place Isabel Valley on their map to the east. When in 1895, the USGS realized that the peak two miles southeast of Mt. Hamilton was as tall (4,193-foot (1,278 m),[3] they correctly named it Mt. Isabel.[4]


The Arroyo Hondo mainstem is formed by the confluence of Isabel Creek and Smith Creek at the northern tip of Joseph D. Grant County Park at an elevation of 1,591 feet (485 m) above sea level.[5] It flows northerly to its confluence with Calaveras Reservoir at an elevation of 765 feet.[2] Isabel Creek begins at about 2,600 feet (790 m) about one mile south of Mt. Helen, then flows north through the Isabel Valley, then east and north of Mt. Isabel and Mt. Hamilton until it is joined by Smith Creek.[5]


The arroyo still has remnants of native rainbow trout, which several conservation organizations have attempted to protect. The California Academy of Sciences collected a Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) specimen in 1898 on Arroyo Hondo's Santa Isabel Creek tributary.[6] Both Smith Creek and Arroyo Hondo were recorded in 1905 by John Otterbein Snyder as anadromous Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) streams.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 15, 2011
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Arroyo Hondo
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Arroyo Hondo (Santa Clara County, California)
  4. ^ Erwin G. Gudde, William Bright (2004). California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names. University of California Press. p. 179. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  5. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Isabel Creek
  6. ^ "Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdnerii". California Academy of Sciences Ichthyology Collection. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  7. ^ John Otterbein Snyder, United States Bureau of Fisheries (1905). Notes on the fishes of the streams flowing into San Francisco Bay, California in Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1904 30. General Printing Office. p. 337. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  8. ^ Robert A. Leidy, Gordon Becker, Brett N. Harvey (2005). Historical Distribution and Current Status of Steelhead/Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Streams of the San Francisco Estuary, California (PDF) (Report). Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration. p. 123. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 

Coordinates: 37°27′51″N 121°46′32″W / 37.46417°N 121.77556°W / 37.46417; -121.77556

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