30 Open Spaces We Love

To celebrate the Open Space Authority's 30th Anniversary Year, we challenge YOU to visit 30 of our favorite open spaces in and around the Santa Clara Valley! To keep track of which parks you visit, check out the 30 Open Spaces We Love BINGO challenge here.

These open spaces are a selection of Open Space Authority-managed preserves, locations funded by the Open Space Authority Urban Grant program, and open spaces managed by our partner agencies.

Open Space Authority Preserves

1. Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve

CVAL - Landscape - Mike Buncic - 2020-04-08 - 3While only 20 miles south of downtown San José, the 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve offers a true rural and wilderness experience with trails, wildlife, and exquisite views. Visitors can explore rare serpentine rock outcroppings, grasslands, woodlands of oaks and California bays, and seasonal creeks that spring alive in winter. Spring months bring dazzling wildflowers blanketing hillsides and meadows.

2. Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

SVIS - Landscape - A-Pilon - 2022-04-12 -2-1Located in the eastern foothills of Santa Clara County, the 1,611-acre Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve offers sweeping views and over 10 miles of trails to stroll through diverse landscapes including oak woodlands, rolling grassland, and chaparral habitats. Perched above the historic Alum Rock Park, the area protects important watersheds and is home to several protected wildlife species, including the California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, American badger, and Western burrowing owl.

3. Rancho Cañada del Oro OSP

RCAN - Landscape - A-Defty - 2021-04-03 - 27-1-1-1-1Located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in South Santa Clara County, the 5,432-acre Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve currently offers 12 miles of trails. Deer, bobcats, salamanders, and other wildlife roam throughout the preserve, and in the spring months, wildflowers adorn the meadow and hillsides.

4. Máyyan 'Ooyákma - Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve

CRID - Wildflower Landscapes - C-Hutnik - Apr-9-2005 - 3-1-1Opening to the public in late 2023, Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve will offer a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience for visitors. With rolling hillsides of rare serpentine habitat supporting critical and endangered species, Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge is a truly immersive adventure. To protect this special habitat, visitation hours will be different from most other open space preserves, making this preserve truly like no other.

Grant-funded urban open spaces and projects

5. Ulistac Natural Area

Ulistac - A-Pilon - 2021-04-23 - 6-1Ulistac Natural Area is a beautiful and unique pocket of open space along the Guadalupe River, where wildlife roam and migratory birds stop as they travel along the Pacific Coast. Funded in part by the Open Space Authority, Ulistac is an oasis of native California habitats in the midst of Silicon Valley, with native riparian, oak woodland, oak savanna, and chaparral habitats!

6. Edith Morely Park

EdithMorley_460x280Edith Morley Park is a 5.5-acre area located next to percolation ponds on Campbell Technology Parkway. Edith Morley Park offers recreational amenities as well as a marsh and wetland area for exploration and environmental studies. The Authority contributed $173,021 to provide wetland preservation, native plantings, walking paths, and benches at this local park.

7. Stojanovich Family Park

Stojanovich - 3-1Just minutes from downtown Campbell, Stojanovich Family Park along Union Avenue can be a great picnic location or quick stroll. This 1.3-acre park includes walking trails, a pedestrian bridge, benches, a landscaped swale with a biotreatment component, and interpretive signs that show the agricultural history of the site. The Authority granted $81,629 to help fund this park in 2012.

8. Martial Cottle County Park

Martial Cottle - People - L-Nguyen - 2021-06-05 - 78-1Along with providing land for farmers and educational activities, Martial Cottle Park also features a trail system that is ideal for any visitor! While walking, running, or biking the trail, you can see working fields, fruit orchards, and the Cottle family’s old farmhouse. After circling the park, extend your walk to explore the interior trails that pass group picnic areas, a playground, and a visitor’s center where you can learn more about the history of the property and agriculture in the region. The Authority contributed $450,000 to the County in 2006 to open this 288-acre urban park.

9. Three Creeks Trail

IMG_8708-1This one-mile flat, paved trail in San José's Willow Glen neighborhood stretches from Coe Avenue to Falcon Court cul-de-sac and is named for the three creekside trails that it will eventually connect: the Los Gatos Creek Trail, Guadalupe Creek Trail, and Coyote Creek Trail. The partially shaded trail runs along former Union Pacific Railroad land and features oak trees, irises, and an iconic water tank and fruit crates that pay homage to the Valley of Heart's Delight. The Authority contributed a total of $3,235,000 towards the purchase of the land where the trail is built.

10. Coyote Creek Trail/Selma Olindar Park

Coyote Creek Trail - A-Pilon - 2021-05 -3The Coyote Creek Trail is one of the longest trail systems in the Santa Clara Valley, running from downtown San José to Morgan Hill. The trail provides access to several city and county parks along its length, including Hellyer County Park and Anderson Lake County Park. It roughly follows Coyote Creek and travels through different habitats, from open grasslands to shaded sycamore groves. A central paved segment was funded in part by an Open Space Authority Urban Grant of $600,000 to the City of San José as part of the Selma Olindar Park development.

11. Albertson Parkway

Albertson Parkway - R-Horii - 5-13-2011 - 8-1Albertson Parkway is a short, paved, landscaped trail in South San José’s Santa Teresa neighborhood. In 2007, the Authority contributed $400,000 to help the City of San José transform this neglected utility corridor into a half-mile long recreational parkway with a meandering paved trail and landscaping that includes many native plants, like blue-eyed grass and elderberry trees. Stretching from Dondero Way to Curie Drive, this short half-mile trail leads directly into Santa Teresa County Park, where visitors can continue their nature walk.

12. Alviso Adobe Park

Alviso Adobe-1-1This 175-year-old farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in our area, made partly of original adobe bricks. In 2005, the Open Space Authority contributed $356,837 towards the City of Milpitas’ project to restore the building and expand the property and turn it into a city park, complete with a fruit orchard, picnic tables, restored outbuildings, and interpretive signs highlighting various aspects of the farming and ranching done onsite over the years.

13. Bowers Park

Bowers Park - 2In 2018, the Open Space Authority granted $59,250 to the City of Santa Clara's installation of a decomposed granite trail and restoration of upland habitat near Saratoga Creek. This project gives people of all ages and abilities access to nature in their neighborhood and to the new all-inclusive playground in Bowers Park. In addition, the new trail creates a walking loop by connecting to existing park trails. The trail enhances and integrates play spaces with nature, while supporting sustainability and age-friendly outdoor activities.

14. Everett N. “Eddie” Souza Park

San Tomas 7-17-19 (8)Located along the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, this beautiful 2-acre park features playgrounds, picnic/barbecue areas, an open grass area, a native plant/pollinator community garden, off leash dog area and a restroom. The Community Garden portion features a covered outdoor classroom and plots for children, individuals and groups to grow their own organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. In 2016, the Open Space Authority awarded the City of Santa Clara a $425,000 grant towards the outdoor classroom and community garden portion of this project.

15. Guadalupe River Park

Guadalupe River Park Conservancy - FacebookIn the heart of downtown San José, Guadalupe River Park offers almost miles of a green oasis. If you don’t want to hit the trail, the park also offers public art, a rose garden, a community garden, and a playground if you have any little ones. In 2018, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy was awarded two grants from the Open Space Authority’s Urban Grant Program protecting and conserving open space and supporting environmental education for students.

16. Penitencia Creek Trail

Penitencia Creek Trail - 2017 - 1-1The Penitencia Creek Trail stretches from Alum Rock Park to Penitencia Creek Park. The paved trail follows one of the few urban creeks in the county that flows through its natural channel, offering visitors a chance to observe a riparian ecosystem. Past Noble Avenue, the rest of Penitencia Creek Trail is a mixture of paved and gravel trails. The Open Space Authority contributed $265,284 to the section of the trail that stretches from Alum Rock Park to Noble Avenue.

17. San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail

San Tomas TrailIn 2000, the Open Space Authority allocated $55,000 to the City of Santa Clara for the first phase of the San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail. This segment is located near Great America Parkway and Tasman Drive, providing a place for outdoor exercise and recreation to many who live and work in the area. When completed, the full trail will cover 12 miles and provide an alternate transportation route for residents and workers.

18. Guadalupe Oak Grove Park

Guadalupe Oak Grove ParkIn 2018, the Authority awarded the City of San José a $30,000 grant to help construct an outdoor “classroom” for park patrons. This shaded, natural outdoor seating and table space serves as a space for environmental education programs and nature-based outdoor play. This space invites families to spend time in nature while also encouraging them to learn about the five different ecosystems within the park and the various wildlife that live there.

19. Emma Prusch Farm Park/Veggielution

Veggielution - 2022-08-09 - 1-1Founded in 2008, Veggielution connects people from diverse backgrounds outdoors through food and farming to build community in East San José. Their 2-acre community farm and gathering space is located in Emma Prusch Farm Park. Through food-centered programs for all ages, the organization connects residents to each other and to people and resources from outside their community that will enable them to make change. Over the past several years, the Open Space Authority has helped fund several Veggielution projects and programs, including “Eastside Explorers,” an experiential, hands-on field trip program, “Roots Down,” Veggielution’s 18-month land use planning process, and “Eastside Connect,” their program that serves community members through farm boxes, hot meals, and onsite farm stand.

Neighbors and Partner agencies

20. Alum Rock Park

Alum Rock - Landscape - R-Horii - 3-1-19 - 3-2-1Just a short drive from downtown San José, and one of California’s oldest parks, Alum Rock Park, just celebrated its 150-anniversary last year! Managed by the City of San José Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, these 720 acres of natural areas have something for everybody from hiking, equestrian and bike access, to family picnic areas.

21. Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

10-19-18Don Edwards Walk04-1Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, a complex of seven refuges spanning over 125 miles and 11 counties. These lands protect habitats and wildlife that are just as diverse as the urban communities surrounding them.

22. Calero County Park 

CaleroRanchoSanVicenteNestled in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Calero County Park is a fantastic nature escape with its reservoir open year-round and almost 19 miles of backcountry trails. Managed by Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation department, Calero connects to Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Start in one open space, and hike, bike, or ride to the other!

23. Kelley Park

Kelley Park - City of SJKelley Park is a 172 acre urban escape tucked into San José that’s great for a quick stroll or a nature picnic right in your backyard. Located on Senter Rd. between Story Rd. and Phelan Ave., and managed by the City of San José, the park has playgrounds and picnic areas – just don’t forget to make a reservation. And afterwards, head to Happy Hallow Park and Zoo right next door.

24. Santa Teresa County Park

Santa teresa County Park - A-Pilon - 2023-01-1This park offers over 17 miles of unpaved trails for equestrian, hiking and bicycle use. Managed by Santa Clara County Parks, the 1,673 acres of rolling hillsides just a stone’s throw from Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. The secluded upland valleys of the park provide a quiet interlude for exploring the natural environment minutes away from the surrounding developed areas. 

25. Lake Cunningham Regional Park

Lake Cunningham - City of SJ-1Lake Cunningham’s 203 acres include picnic areas, playgrounds, walking paths, and skate parks offering something for the whole family. Whether you want to rollerblade around the park or have a cozy barbecue, this east San José park, managed by the city of San José, is a great spot for an urban getaway.

26. Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve

Sierra Azul_davehood_MidpenProtecting 19,300 acres of open space in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this preserve features 26 miles of multi-use trails including one all the way up to the peak of Mount Umunhum. The landscape offers views of serpentine grasslands, rocky and steep chaparral, shaded oak woodland forests, and much more.

27. Almaden Quicksilver County Park

Almaden Quicksilver - A-Pilon - 2020-1Almaden Quicksilver County Park is a fantastic urban getaway. Located in south San José, and managed by Santa Clara County Parks, this park is available for hiking, biking, and picnicking. And once a famous mercury mine, the site also features a mining museum with unique educational exhibits for an enriching weekend activity.

28. Bear Creek Redwoods

Bear creek redwoods - larry_turino_BCR_canopy_flipped-1This preserve is made special by its namesake – over 1400 acres of second-growth redwood trees nestled between Big Basin and Sierra Azul. Managed by Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, this preserve is just over 30 minutes from downtown San José, and features hiking and equestrian trails for a great getaway.

29. Hellyer County Park

HellyerLocated along highway 101, this Santa Clara County Park features the paved Coyote Creek Parkway, making it a great trail for hikers, runners, cyclists, skaters, and more. The site also features a playground, a dog park, a self-guided nature trail, family picnic areas, and more!

30. Los Gatos Creek Trail

Los Gatos Creek Trail - A-Pilon-1This popular trail runs from San José through Campbell and Los Gatos and is close to shopping, restaurants, and cafes in both communities. The trail passes through three main parks: Campbell Park, Los Gatos Creek County Park, and Vasona Lake County Park, and follows the Los Gatos Creek past several ponds and shady areas, as well as urban and residential neighborhoods. This paved trail is mostly flat with some smalls hills to be aware of. You can park almost anywhere along the trail’s length, or get accessible parking and restrooms at Vasona Lake County Park or Los Gatos Creek County Park. Past downtown Los Gatos, the trail turns to dirt and/or gravel and continues to Lexington Reservoir.

Don’t forget to download the 30 Open Spaces We Love BINGO challenge here.

April 05, 2023
For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer