Wildlife in South Bay
This is one of the oldest city of San Jose parks and hosts covers 13 miles of trails open to hikers including six miles of horse trails and three miles of dirt bicycle trails. The park is located within Alum Rock Canyon and covers both shaded trails and trails more open to the sun. Plant and animal life include holly leaf cherry tree, sagebrush, sycamore, maple, white alder, red willow, different types of oak trees, Madrone, California buckeye, toyon, wild rose, sticky monkey flower, wild blackberries, black tailed deer, brush rabbits, quail, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, Stellar jays and bobcats. There is water and restrooms throughout the park including trail entrances (but not along the trails).
This bayside park is 18.9 acres and is part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to many birds so it is perfect for birdwatching. The trails are available to hikers and mountain bikers.
This 3,144 acre park is home to Santa Clara County's largest reservoir. The park's trails are open to hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. There is a one mile self-guided nature trail located along Coyote Creek that is rich with a riparian habitat that is home to abundant regional wildlife.
The park encompasses 1,940 acres that are the largest tract of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay. There are 15 miles of paved and dirt hiking and biking trails that access both salt and fresh water habitats. There are three sloughs, three ponds and two creeks in the area. The preserve has a large resident population of birds and is a major migratory stopover on the Pacific Flyway.
Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park is a 4,595-acre park with a 635-acre lake. It has 22 miles of multi-use trails for hikers, horses and bicycles. The Coyote Lake entrance to the park leads to the park visitor center that houses exhibits on local wildlife, including live reptiles and amphibians. The Bear and Mendoza Ranch sections of the park have over 15 miles of trails that pass through oak studded canyons, grassy ridgelines, and views of Santa Clara Valley. There are restrooms available.
The Wildlife refuge hosts over 280 species of shorebirds and waterfowl as well as other wildlife. It covers 30,000 acres and a variety of habitats including open bay, salt pond, salt marsh, mudflat, upland and vernal pool. There many miles of dirt trails throughout the refuge. Trails are open to hikers and bicycles with some trails used by dogs. There is a visitor center with educational exhibits.
This preserve is over 1400 acres with over seven miles of dirt trails that are open to hikers, bicycles and horses. The land is primarily chaparral with some wooded areas near the creeks. Wildlife includes deer, coyote, and brush rabbits.
Hellyer County Park is 354 acres with Coyote Creek running through the middle of the park. The visitor center has natural history displays. The creek channel is home to many different species of wildlife. There is also a one mile self guided nature trail located along the Coyote Creek that offers information about the local flora, fauna and wildlife. There are multiple restrooms throughout the park. Water is not available so please bring your own.
The Los Gatos Creek Trail is open to pedestrians, bicyclists, roller skaters and non-motorized scooters. The trail runs alongside the creek that is home to plants and wildlife. There are four ponds in the park that are considered a wildlife preserve. Drinking water and restrooms are available.
This is an 18 acre historical preserve with 1930s ranch house, milk and livestock barn, Baer's Blacksmith Shop and old water tower on site. The park hosts a nature museum and community garden. There are trails for hiking and viewing deer, coyote, bobcats and more than 100 species of birds. Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society has bird boxes on the trails by the creek so more birds are attracted to the park.
This is an approximately 3,100 acre preserve that has a rich diversity of wildlife such as bobcats, deer and rabbits and plant life within a canyon, along streams, grassland, including wildflowers in season. There are about 15 miles of dirt trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians that cover shady and exposed areas and views of Santa Clara Valley and over to the Mt. Hamilton range. The Stevens Creek Nature InterpretiveTrail is a self guided 3 mile loop that descends into the forested canyon, continues along the creek, and heads back up through grasslands. Parking is available for 45 cars. Additional parking is available at the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve parking area, located directly across Page Mill Road. Restrooms are available but no drinking water.
Penitencia Creek County Park is a 78 acre park with a four-mile trail that follows Penitencia Creek The trails are used by hikers, bikers and equestrians. There is a pond that is a stop on the migratory flyway. There are multiple restrooms along the trail.
This is a 3900 acre preserve that has over 8 miles of multi-use trails with spectacular views of the Diablo Range and Mt. Hamilton. The trails cover native grasslands, live and valley oak woodlands, sage-chaparral scrub, and creekside habitats. The Llagas Creek Loop Trail is good for viewing birds, deer, flowers, native grasses, oaks and California walnut trees. There is no potable water for human consumption.
Sanborn County Park is within Santa Cruz mountains and has over 3,688 highly forested acres. At the Sanborn Road main entrance, there is a one mile nature trail that offers examples of the flora and fauna diversity in the park. There are over 15 miles of trails for hikers. There is another entrance at the Lake Ranch Trailhead off of Bear Creek Road that offers a shaded, easy, flat hike to Ranch Lake. There are multiple restrooms available at the main entrance but none at Lake Ranch.
Shoreline Lake is manmade and is a wildlife sanctuary that is home to many rare, migratory birds such as the burrowing owl. There are 50 acres of lake shores for walking and watching nature.
Shoreline Park is a 750 acres wildlife and recreation area with more than eight miles of paved and dirt trails for bicycles, rollerbladers and pedestrians. The area contains two tidal marshes, two sloughs, two creeks and a seasonal marsh so is perfect for local and migrant birdwatching. There are restrooms and drinking fountains near the lake as well as two places to eat snacks or a meal.
The entire preserve covers 24 miles of trails. The Mt. Umunhum Area hosts twelve thousand acre areas that are home to abundant wildlife including mountain lions, deer, bobcats, coyotes, and and fauna includes serpentine grasslands, chaparral, bay trees and oak woodland forests. Mt. Umunhum is a 3,486-foot mountain that is not accessible by trails. Instead, the 6.2-mile Woods Trail that starts at the Jaques Ridge parking area, takes you to the 3,000-foot Mt. El Sombroso. There are restrooms but no water availability so bring water and sun protection with you.
Stevens Creek County Park is 1,077 acres with a 92 acre reservoir. There are multi-use and hiker only trails that span up to six miles. This park is one of the most popular birding parks in the Bay Area where over 125 species have been sighted. There are multiple restrooms available in the park.
This 55 acre Nature Study Area is located adjacent to Mountain View’s Shoreline Park. It has a half-mile trail for viewing a diversity of birds including pied-billed grebes, great blue herons, coots, and shovelers. Other wildlife includes the clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse, two endangered species that depend on this sensitive habitat to survive.
The park has 105 acres of protected seasonal wetlands with dirt trails along the marshes for hiking. At the east end of the park, the road is closed to vehicles and the road continues for biking and walking. If you walk far enough, you will see a dirt path that leads to more wetland and many more miles of dirt trails that take you by the bay. There are many parking lots and restrooms throughout the park. There are two huge pond complexes around Moffett channel that are perfect for birdwatching.
Tule Ranch is 48 acres of land that for decades was overgrazed and exposed to pesticides and herbicides. Join us for a virtual tour of a ranch that is now home to sustainable crops and livestock and learn how the owners developed their crops and livestock to not only be sustainable, but how they are helping to restore the environment. You will learn about their fruit orchard and olive grove and their pollinators as well as the role their horses, dogs, 25 different breeds of chickens, Babydoll sheep, goats, Highland cows and alpaca play in keeping the farm and its surrounding environment healthy. Image by Pexels from Pixabay.
Ulistac Natural Area is the only dedicated natural open space in the City of Santa Clara. It's 40 acres showcases seven distinctive natural habitats. Birds are plentiful along Guadalupe River and butterflies enjoy the native wildflowers and other plants. There are no restrooms, drinking water or picnic tables within Ulistac, but they can be found across the street at Lick Mill Park.
Uvas Canyon County Park is 1,133 acres of wooded land that is home to two reservoirs, Uvas and Chesbro. The park has six miles of hiking only trails including a one mile Waterfall Loop that travels along Swanson Creek past many waterfalls. You can get a self-guided interpretive trail brochure that highlights the flora in the canyon at the trailhead or ranger's office. There are two restroom facilities.
Vasona Park is 150 acres and includes the Viola Anderson Native Plant Trail. The flat paved trail around the lake is used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and roller skaters. The trail runs for about 14 miles through the Town of Los Gatos, Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos Creek County Park, and the cities. There are multiple restroom facilities.