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Los Alamitos Creek Trail

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Los Alamitos-Calero Creek Trails, Dec. 24, 2012

On Christmas Eve, 2012, I went for a bike ride on the Los Alamitos-Calero Creek Trail in San Jose's Almaden Valley. The previous days had heavy rain, but today was sunny. As a result of the rain, the creeks were running high. These pictures show what the creek looks like with high water flows. Today was a Monday, which meant that Almaden Lake Park was closed. I normally would have started at the Almaden Light Rail station and ridden through the park, but today I had to start at the trailhead at the south end of Winfield. I rode the entire length of the paved trails, though I took some unpaved sections.


This is Los Alamitos Creek just before it flows into Almaden Lake.


At the Mazzone Drive undercrossing, Los Alamitos Creek was almost to the level of the trail. It had overflowed onto the trail recently, causing it to be muddy. Instead of taking the underpass, I took the high road and crossed Mazzone Drive.


This is the creek downstream of the Mazzone Drive bridge. It is much higher, wider, and faster than normal.


This is the view looking down Los Alamitos Creek


This is a view of the trail from the Mazzone Drive bridge. 


This is a view of west bank of Los Alamitos Creek from the Mazzone Drive bridge.


This is a wide part of Los Alamitos Creek next to Crossview Circle. The creek has an overflow channel to the west. Not visible is McAbee Creek, which joins Los Alamitos Creek from the west.


The trail is very busy on this straight section along Crossview Circle.


This picture was taken on 4/10/09 showing this section of creek with higher vegetation and much lower water levels.


This is looking upstream along Los Alamitos Creek as it flows through the wide floodplain between Crossview Circle and Fleetwood Drive.


The trail becomes tree-shaded as it passes by the hills below the Boulder Ridge Golf Course. The creek runs close to the trail here.


Looking across the creek, there are houses which back up to the creek along Fleetwood Drive and Redmond Avenue.


This is the trail below Pfeiffer Ranch Road.


The houses on the other side of the creek are along Wallace Drive.


The trail runs through Pfeiffer Park. There are places where you can easily get down to the creek.


There are stretches of fast water here.


Pfeiffer Park has picnic tables, gravel walking paths, parcourse stations, and drinking fountains.


The bridge over Los Alamitos Creek leads to the parking lot along Camden Avenue.


This is a view looking downstream from the bridge.


This is looking upstream from the bridge.


There are Christmas ribbons tied along the rail of the Graystone Lane Bridge.


This is the creek downstream of the Graystone Lane Bridge.


This is the creek upstream of the Graystone Lane Bridge.


This is the Pfeiffer Stone House next to the creek at the corner of Graystone Lane and Pfeiffer Ranch Road. It was built around 1875 and was used for storing tools and food when the area was a rock quarry.


The trail runs high on a levee between the creek and Camden Avenue on the right.


There's a break in the trees in this part of the trail. You can see how swollen the creek is.


The trail runs through a tunnel of trees here.


This is Randol Creek, which originates in the hills of Almaden Quicksilver County Park, runs through the Almaden Valley and next to Leland High School in a concrete channel. Here is where it joins Los Alamitos Creek.


One a bench next to Randol Creek is an interpretive sign showing the Guadalupe River watershed. Los Alamitos Creek, which is highlighted, joins Guadalupe Creek below Almaden Lake to become the Guadalupe River.


This is the trail across Camden Avenue from Leland High School. On the left, you can see the unpaved equestrian trail, which parallels the paved trail and runs closer to the creek.


At a spot a little past Leland High School is an easy access to the creek. This is the creek looking downstream. There are large homes and ranches on the other side of the creek along Graystone Lane. 


This is looking upstream from the same spot.


Just past Yamouth Way, the trail splits into a high road and a low road. Since the high road on the levee top might have had some muddy spots, I took the paved low road, which runs through what used to be an orchard.


Finally, the trail crosses Camden Avenue. The bridge to the left crosses Los Alamitos Creek and leads to the start of the Calero Creek Trail, which follows Calero Creek. The Los Alamitos Creek Trail runs on both sides of the creek across Camden Avenue.


This is looking downstream from the bridge at Los Alamitos Creek. Unseen farther downstream, Calero Creek flows in from the right. I took the Calero Creek Trail.


This is looking back on the Calero Creek Trail, running next to Camden Avenue. Calero Creek is on the right behind the trees. Boulders on the shoulder deter off-road vehicle use.


There are a few places in the dense creekside vegetation where you see Calero Creek. The creek is a lot smaller than Los Alamitos Creek. It flows from Calero Reservoir, which is a large reservoir that rarely spills, so the flow is usually lower and more controlled than Los Alamitos Creek.


The paved Calero Creek Trail ends at Harry Road. In the background on the left is the hill at Rancho San Vicente, the newest addition to Calero County Park. On the right are the hills of Calero and Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve. The Calero Creek Trail continues on the other side of Harry Road and on the other side of the creek.


This is Calero Creek flowing under Harry Road.

The unpaved Calero Creek Trail runs next to an old orchard on property owned by IBM as part of their Almaden Research Center. It leads to the Stile Ranch/Fortini entrance of Santa Teresa County Park at San Vicente Avenue near Fortini Road. The Stile Ranch Trail in Santa Teresa Park is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. So is the Virl O. Norton Trail in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Because the Los Alamitos Creek and Calero Creek trails link those trails (with a small gap), they are also part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail network.


The entrance to the Calero Creek Trail is wet, so the trail itself is likely to be wet. I decide not to take the trail and turn around here.


From a spot not far from its confluence with Los Alamito Creek, here's another view of Calero Creek.


Back at the Camden Avenue bridge over Los Alamitos Creek, this is the southeast corner of the bridge at the Los Alamitos Creek Trail segment that runs along the east side of the creek.


Crossing over the bridge, this is Los Alamitos Creek flowing under the bridge.


The west side of the Calero Creek Trail parallels Queenswood Way. There's an unpaved path that runs closer to the creek.


There are many spots along this route where you can get close to the creek. With the creek this high and fast, it's best not to get too close.


There's a gravel-covered path close to the creek, so even with all the rain, it's not muddy.


This is a view of the unpaved trail from the paved trail.


The trail runs under Almaden Expressway. It's very close to the creek level, so it can get flooded. There was just this one wet spot, which was easily avoided.


Los Alamitos Creek flows under Almaden Expressway. On the other side is the trail along the east side of the creek.


Looking downstream, the creek flows under the Almaden Expressway Bridge.


The paved trail ends abruptly at Portswood Circle. Pay attention and don't follow the trail or you may end up being a chalkline on the wall, like this poor soul (simulated).


This is the bridge over Los Alamitos Creek, leading to the trail on the east bank.


This is the creek downstream from the bridge.


This is what the creek looked like at this same spot on 9/2/12, showing what it looks like most of the year during normal flows.


This is the creek on the upstream side of the bridge. There are no trails here. There are essentially no more public trails upstream along Los Alamitos Creek, except for short sections in New Almaden.


The Los Alamitos Creek Trail on the east bank of the creek begins next to this huge old eucalyptus tree.


This is the creek from the east bank.

The trail on the east bank ends at the Camden Avenue Bridge. Cross over to the other side to return. From here, it's a back-track to the start of the trail by the south entrance of Almaden Lake Park. Because Almaden Lake Park is closed on Mondays, to reach the Guadalupe River Trail, cross Coleman Avenue to reach the trailhead at the Almaden Light Rail Station. Cross Almaden Expressway to reach the start of the Guadalupe Creek Trail.


Created by Ronald Horii, 12/24/12