Los Gatos Creek Trail

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Los Gatos Creek Trail south of downtown

The Los Gatos Creek Trail is a 9.7-mile (15.6 km) pedestrian and bicycle trail that runs through western Santa Clara County in California, from Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos, California through Campbell, California to Meridian Avenue in San Jose, California alongside Los Gatos Creek. The trail is heavily used.

The route[edit]

Lexington to Los Gatos[edit]

Below Lexington Reservoir, the trail runs alongside the highway, electrical lines, a water pipe from the Reservoir, and the concrete culvert containing the creek, while still providing a walk in the woods.

There are two trails between Lexington Reservoir and downtown Los Gatos. The portion of the trail on the west side of the creek is the Los Gatos Creek Trail proper and is a smooth, wide, unpaved trail on an old railway bed. The portion on the east side is the Jones Trail near the reservoir which connects to the Flume Trail. The north portion of this trail is for pedestrians only as it's windy and goes down to the stream level in several places. Jones Road is an alternative for cyclists. The Jones and Flume trail connect with Novitiate Park and the St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve. There is a limited amount of parking available in Novitate Park and at the end of Jones Road.

Mileage marker on the trail

There are mile markers on the Los Gatos Creek trail, with the mile zero marker being located about 100 feet (30 m) north of the trailhead from Alma Bridge Road. The first half mile offers a significant drop in elevation.

Downtown Los Gatos[edit]

As the trail reaches downtown Los Gatos, the first access point is at the Main Street bridge. The trail then passes the 1854 Forbes Mill, which houses a history museum. It then crosses from the east to the west of highway 17 via a dedicated bridge. From this point northward the trail is paved. Next, there is an access point immediately behind the Old Town shopping area. 250 yards to the North, there is an access point and a parking lot with a few spaces meant for the trail next to a small park north of Old Town that can be reached via Miles Avenue.

Vasona Lake County Park[edit]

The trail next runs through Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Park. Attractions in this pair of parks include the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and a T33 airplane that kids can crawl on. The trail follows the east side of the lake and goes up and over the dam.

Los Gatos Creek County Park[edit]

After travelling under highway 85, the trail next enters Los Gatos Creek County Park. Attractions in this park include fishing, a casting pond, and a dog park. A bike/pedestrian bridge across Highway 17 connects to the trail at this point.

Campbell Park and Downtown Campbell access[edit]

The trail goes through Campbell Park. Downtown Campbell is only a three block walk to the west from the trail via Campbell Avenue.

The Pruneyard[edit]

The trail next passes by the back of the Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell. The access point is at the northwest corner of the complex, behind the parking structure. The Pruneyard has offices, shops, restaurants, and a movie theater.

Willow Glen endpoint[edit]

The trail next heads through San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, ending at Meridian Avenue.

Willow Glen connection to Downtown San Jose[edit]

In order to get to downtown San Jose, exit the trail just before the last bridge, near Blackford Elementary School, which is at the southwestern end of Willow Street. Willow Street has well marked on-street bike lanes and minimal traffic. Turn left onto Glen Eyrie Avenue, the third street past Meridian Avenue. Glen Eyrie Avenue is a residential street with minimal traffic. When you get to Lincoln Avenue, cross it and make the quarter mile dash up that busy street (no bike lanes) and turn right on Lonus St. If you are timid, you can always walk your bike this short distance on the sidewalk.

Downtown San Jose[edit]

On 20 October 2007, the section of trail connecting Lonus St. and Auzerais Avenue, including an underpass of I-280, was opened. This added section provides a key link for the trail as a whole, connecting Willow Glen and Downtown and removing the previous surface-street crossing of 280. Another section was subsequently added that terminates at Dupont Avenue, immediately below a set of stairs that allows easy access to the bridge that carries West San Carlos Street over the creek and the CalTrain lines. This bridge connects the trail into central downtown San Jose.

Downtown San Jose via the Guadalupe River Trail[edit]

An alternative for reaching areas further east within San Jose is to take the bridge across the creek located just before the underpass of Interstate 280. Take a slight jog to the right onto Fuller Ave. and then turn left onto Virginia Ave. Travel east on Virginia Avenue until you reach the current termination of the Guadalupe River Trail.

Alternatively, the trail can be reached by travelling east on Willow Avenue, turning left onto Delmas Avenue and then right onto Virginia Avenue.

Future plans for improving the connection to downtown San Jose[edit]

The city of San Jose has been actively developing the Three Creeks Trail on an abandoned UPRR rail spur. One short section of the trail is complete. The northern end of this rail spur crosses Lonus Avenue and is part of the defined project. The project has defined a refurbishment of an existing rail bridge across the creek just south of Lonus Avenue. Completion of the north end of the Three Creeks Trail would allow connection to the northern section of the Los Gatos Creek Trail without requiring travel on busy Lincoln Avenue.

Future plans for improving the connection to the Guadalupe River Trail[edit]

As of 2012, the extension of the Guadalupe River Trail further south past its current termination at Virginia Avenue is under construction. This will allow that trail to be reached from the Los Gatos Creek Trail via Willow Avenue.

Light Rail access to the trail[edit]

  • Bascom Station - walk 250 yards Southwest from the station along Southwest Expressway and then South on Bascom Avenue
  • Hamilton Station - walk 400 yards South from the station on Creekside drive.
  • Campbell Station - walk 400 yards East from the station on Campbell Avenue.
  • Winchester Station - walk 900 yards South from the station on Winchester Blvd and Camden Avenue

Mileage and elevation[edit]

0.0 - Alma Bridge Road (660 ft)
1.5 - Main Street (400 ft)
2.1 - Miles Road
2.3 - Saratoga-Los Gatos Road (Highway 9)
2.9 - Roberts Road
4.3 - Vasona Dam (300 ft)
4.7 - Lark Avenue
6.3 - Los Gatos Creek County Park (200 ft)
6.5 - Camden Avenue / San Tomas Expressway
7.7 - Campbell Avenue (170 ft)
8.0 - Highway 17
8.4 - Hamilton Avenue
8.6 - Bascom Avenue
9.2 - Leigh Avenue
10.0 - Meridian Avenue (120 ft)

See also a [gmap route]

External links[edit]