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 Novitiate Park and at the end of Jones Road.

Mile 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 trail is present on both sides of the creek from Campbell Park south to the bridge just north of San Tomas Expressway. An parallel mountain bike single-track trail exists east of the trail on the east side of the creek between the trail and the freeway.

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 the northern section of the trail[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. Alternatively, you can always walk your bike this short distance on the sidewalk.

Northern section of the trail into Downtown San Jose[edit]

A section of trail connects Lonus St. and Dupont Avenue, traveling under I-280. This section provides a key link for the trail as a whole, connecting Willow Glen and Downtown and removing the previous surface-street crossing of I-280. This section 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.

Connections to the Los Gatos Creek Trail[edit]

Connection to the Guadalupe River Trail into Downtown San Jose[edit]

The Guadalupe River Trail can be reached by travelling east on the nice bike trail on Willow Avenue, turning left onto Delmas Avenue and then right onto Virginia Avenue. Travel east on W. Virginia Avenue until you reach the termination of the Guadalupe River Trail, which is on the northside of W. Virginia Ave, just east of the bridge over highway 87.

Alternatively, take the bridge across the creek located just south of the underpass of Interstate 280. Take a slight jog to the right onto Fuller Ave. and then turn left onto Drake St., which turns into W. Virginia Ave.

Connection to the Three Creeks Trail and 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 former WPR/UPRR rail spur. Most of that trail is complete. The northern end of this rail spur crosses Lonus Avenue, is part of the defined project, and is awaiting the opening of the bridge over the creek just south of Lonus Avenue. Opening this bridge will allow connection to the northern section of the Los Gatos Creek Trail without requiring travel on busy Lincoln Avenue.

Connection to the White Oaks Avenue neighborhood[edit]

A bridge across highway 17 connects to the trail at the south end of Los Gatos Creek County Park.

Connection to the Los Gatos-Saratoga Road bike lanes[edit]

The connection is via University Avenue and Miles Avenue, which is south of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. The Town of Los Gatos has applied for grants to improve this access.

Light rail access to the trail[edit]

  • Bascom Station - go 250 yards Southwest from the station along Southwest Expressway and then South on Bascom Avenue to the ramp on the southeast end of the Bascom Ave. bridge over Los Gatos Creek
  • Hamilton Station - go 300 yards east from the station to the stairs at the southeast end of the Hamilton Ave. bridge over Los Gatos Creek.
  • Campbell Station - go 400 yards East from the station along Campbell Avenue into Campbell Park.
  • Winchester Station - go 900 yards South from the station along Winchester Blvd and then on 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)

References[edit]

External links[edit]