Best Paved Trails in Santa Clara County

Everyone in our community deserves access to nature, regardless of age or physical mobility. Local families want to share the outdoors with friends and all the people they love. Spending time outside can help reduce stress and allow people to reflect, relax, and reset - health benefits that should be available to all.

As part of its core mission, the Open Space Authority is always looking for opportunities to make our open space preserves more accessible by providing paved trail segments with easy access to parking areas, and by awarding Urban Grants to fund urban and neighborhood trail expansions and accessibility improvements.

Here are some of our favorite paved, wheelchair-, walker-, and stroller-accessible trails in Authority-funded parks and other open spaces across Santa Clara County. No matter what trail you choose, be sure to prepare for the day, including bringing enough water as many trails do not have drinking fountains!

For additional information about many more accessible trails in the Bay Area, check out the website Adventures From A Wheelchair, run by accessible trail advocate and Authority partner Mark Hehir.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, some trails may be closed or have limited parking or services available. Please check with the managing agency for the most up to date information about services and trail conditions.

Llagas Creek Loop - Mark HehirLlagas Creek Loop
Length: 0.6 mile loop
Terrain: Asphalt
Accessible parking: Yes
Accessible restrooms: Yes
Location: Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, 4289 Casa Loma Rd., Morgan Hill

The paved, wheelchair-accessible, and flat Llagas Creek Loop Trail begins at the preserve’s parking area and provides a full nature experience for any visitor. The trail meanders through a meadow teeming with wildlife such as wild turkeys and deer. Look up and you may see circling Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks, Western Bluebirds, and Acorn Woodpeckers. Enjoy a picnic or watch the glistening creek at a wheelchair-accessible picnic table. A bit further along, you will view huge oaks and California walnut trees, and in the spring months, abundant wildflowers.

Photo: Mark Hehir

Albertson Parkway - R.Horii - 5-13-2011 - 8Albertson Parkway
Length: 0.5 miles
Terrain: Asphalt
Accessible parking: Street parking only; accessible parking available at Bernal Historic Ranch Park - 0.4 miles from trail head 
Accessible restrooms: No; accessible restroom available at Bernal Historic Ranch Park - 0.4 miles from trail head
Location: Cresta Vista Way and Dondero Way, San Jose (multiple entries)

Albertson Parkway is a short, paved, and landscaped trail running from South San Jose's Santa Teresa neighborhood directly into Santa Teresa County Park. In 2007, the Authority contributed $400,000 to help the City of San Jose transform this neglected utility corridor into a recreational parkway with a meandering paved trail and landscaping that includes many native plants. Interpretive signage describes bioretention swales that are part of the project and tell the story of Gary Albertson, a highway safety activist and the parkway's namesake. The trail follows PG&E overhead lines and stretches from Dondero Way to Curie Drive, where Santa Teresa County Park begins.

penitencia creek trailPenitencia Creek Trail
Length: 1 mile paved, 2.8 miles total
Terrain: Asphalt/gravel
Accessible parking: Street parking only
Accessible restrooms: No
Location: Drole Dr. and Penitencia Creek Rd., San Jose

An Authority-funded section of the Penitencia Creek Trail stretches one mile from Alum Rock Park to Noble Avenue. 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. Educational signage along the trail tells the story of the creek's native trout species and sycamore trees. Past Noble Avenue, the rest of Penitencia Creek Trail is a mixture of paved and gravel trails.

Three Creeks Trail - 2Three Creeks Trail
Length: 1 mile
Terrain: Asphalt
Accessible parking: Street parking only
Accessible restrooms: No
Location: Coe Ave. and Leona Ct., San Jose (multiple entry points)

This one-mile flat, paved trail in San Jose'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.

2013_Dec 22_Coyote Creek Parkway_017_13x19-1Coyote Creek Trail
Length: 19.3 miles
Terrain: Asphalt
Accessible parking: Yes, at Anderson Lake Visitor Center, 3961 Silver Creek Rd. Parking, San Jose, and Hellyer County Park
Accessible restrooms: Yes, at Anderson Lake Visitor Center, 3961 Silver Creek Rd. Parking, San Jose, and Hellyer County Park
Location: The southern portion of the trail from Tulley Rd. at Galveston Ave. (San Jose) to Morning Star Dr. at Eagle View Dr. (Morgan Hill)

The Coyote Creek Trail is one of the longest trail systems in the Santa Clara Valley. The paved southern stretch runs from downtown San Jose to Morgan Hill and provides access to several city and county parks along its length, including Hellyer County Park and Anderson Lake County Park. The trail 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 Jose as part of the Selma Olinder Park development.

cdn2-hubspot-nethubfs2443326martial cottle-1Martial Cottle County Park
Distance: 2.4+ miles
Terrain: Asphalt
Accessible parking: Yes
Accessible restrooms: Yes
Location: Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave., San Jose

Along with providing land for farming and educational activities, Martial Cottle Park also features a robust trail system that is ideal for nature lovers of all abilities. Enjoy the outdoors while taking in the lovely views of the surrounding mountains! The Martial Cottle Park Loop is a 2.4-mile paved trail encircling the park, but there are additional paved paths that meander through the park’s beautiful landscapes. The Authority provided $450,000 to Santa Clara County in 2006 to open this 288-acre urban park.

84363932_3444411825633943_9080894867701235712_oMount Umunhum Summit Pathway
Distance: 0.3 miles from parking to the summit
Terrain: Asphalt
Accessible parking: Yes
Accessible restrooms: Yes
Location: Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, Los Gatos

This local peak is one of the highest spots in the Santa Cruz Mountain range at 3,486 feet. From its summit on a clear day, you can get a full 360-degree view from the Monterey Bay to the Sierra Nevada mountains. At the Summit there are three accessible parking spaces and a passenger drop-off area. There is an accessible pathway to the main summit vista points, a Native American ceremonial circle, and interpretive displays.

Photo: Basim Jaber

Los Gatos Creek Trail - A.PilonLos Gatos Creek Trail
Distance: 11.2 miles
Terrain: Asphalt, with wooden bridges
Accessible parking: Yes, at Campbell Park, Los Gatos Creek County Park, Vasona Lake County Park. 
Accessible restrooms: Yes, at Vasona Lake County Park and Los Gatos Creek County Park
Location: Paved trail runs from Liebelt Ct. and Meridian Ave., San Jose to downtown Los Gatos

This popular trail runs from San Jose 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. 

June 03, 2020
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Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer