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Best Hikes for Avoiding Crowds in the Peninsula & South Bay (from POST)

Aug 20, 2020    |   Local News & Resources

Spending time outdoors continues to be a popular past-time as the pandemic continues. Hikes and walks in the fresh air offer exercise and mental health benefits.

However, the new popularity of many local trails has created challenges for distancing. To help you find the least crowded parks and preserves in the area, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) recently shared some of the parks that have been less busy during the pandemic. Check out some of the parks in the list below, or click here to view the full article, which includes more details about various trails at each of the parks/preserves.

Least Crowded Parks & Preserves

Pescadero Creek Park

There are lots of different trail options here, which means you can put more distance between yourself and other hikers. It’s also a great place to go in the heat of the summer as Pescadero Creek flows through the park year-round and the diversity of trees along its banks offers many shaded areas for resting or picnicking.

Memorial County Park

Adjacent to Pescadero Creek Park is Memorial County Park. It’s an equally gorgeous destination and another great place to hide under the shade of ancient redwoods during the hot days of summer.

Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

At the Sierra Vista and Calaveras Fault Trails, located just 25 minutes from downtown San Jose, you will find fewer crowds and more challenging terrain. It’s best to visit during the week as the weekends can still get pretty packed. It can get hot, so hit the trail as early as you can.

El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve

This preserve is a great alternative to Purisima Creek Redwoods, which is located nearby and has been crowded in recent months. It offers over 34 miles of multi-use trails, many of them over six feet wide, making it easier to maintain your distance from other hikers.

Skyline Ridge Preserve

At over 2,000 acres, there is plenty of space to find some solitude at this preserve. It’s also a great option for kids, with easy to moderate hikes and trails designed for wheelchair and stroller access around both Alpine Pond and Horseshoe Lake.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Google has listed the “popular times” for some parks and preserves. Check it out before you leave home, so you can try to find a time that is less busy.

  • Weekends will always be more crowded than the rest of the week. If you’re visiting on the weekends, try to go at the least busy times of day, which are usually early mornings and late evenings.

  • Some open space preserves that have been especially busy lately include Purisima Creek Redwoods, Fremont Older Preserve, Rancho San Antonio Preserve and Windy Hill Open Space Preserve.

  • Bring a face covering and use it when you cannot maintain your distance; and stay at least six feet away from anyone not in your household.

  • Remember that no gatherings are allowed.

  • Check with managing agencies (visit official preserve websites and/or call) for the most up to date trail conditions.

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