1. Alum Rock: This beautiful regional park is just about 20 minutes outside of central San Jose and offers great hikes. This is a perfect weekday hike that you can hit after work. My favorite trail is the 4.3 mile round-trip South Rim Trail loop. This park ahs multiple parking lots, picnic areas, restrooms, and even a playground.
2. Stanford Dish: This is a great 3 mile hike with moderate hills and great views of Palo Alto. There are a couple different entrances that augment the length of the hike depending on where you get on the trail. The main parking on Frenchman’s Road fills up quickly, so if you’re arriving at 10 AM on a sunny Saturday, forget about parking there. Your next best bet is the Stanford Dish Trail Parking on Alpine Road. The trail is paved for the entire loop and is popular for runners, hikers, and meanderers alike.
3. Bear Creek Reserve: It’s hard to believe how close this incredible redwood grove is to the cities of San Jose and Los Gatos. Just a few miles from suburban neighborhoods, you can be wandering through the beautiful towering trees. I like hiking the Alma Trail and Redwood Springs Trail loop. This is a moderate 5.3 mile round trip loop with beautiful scenery, but make sure you pick a cool time of day to go.
4. Henry W. Coe: I loved exploring this beautiful and vast state park with miles of hiking trails, popular amongst local backpackers. If you are looking to backpack, make sure you research the permit requirements. I just went for a day hike and paid the $10 cash parking fee. You can check out all the trail options here – but I did the 5.0 mile round trip Frog Loop Trail.
5. Stevens Creek Reservoir: It’s rare to find big bodies of water in Silicon Valley, so it is a luxury to spend some outdoor time near water. This is another good weekday option since it is decently close to the heart of Silicon Valley and there are shorter hike options. There is limited shade on these trails, so I don’t recommend going in the heat of the sun. My favorite option and the most popular hike is the Stevens Canyon Trail, a 5.9 mile round-trip moderate hike.
6. Mission Peak: This is a popular 5.8 mile hike with 2,135ft elevation gain in Fremont. There is hardly any shade so avoid peak sunlight hours, wear a hat, and bring way more water than you think you need. Even though this isn’t a super long hike, the elevation gain takes a lot of energy so don’t forget to pack snacks. I recommend the high-tops especially to secure your ankles for the decent so you don’t smoosh your toes in the front of your shoes. Enjoy Mission Peak!
Check out more to do in the area on my Silicon Valley destination guide.