Park & Trail Map


Contents:

Introduction

Access

Description & Views

Update 8/2/14

Links


Bay Trail Links:

Bay Trail Home

Bay Trail Map: South Bay

Stevens Creek Trail VR

Bay Shoreline Access Webguide

My Bay Trail Pages

Old Guided Photo Tours:  

    Alviso

   Sunnyvale Baylands

   Shoreline Park)
 
   Palo Alto Baylands

   Stevens Creek Trail
 
   Dumbarton Bridge

   Menlo Park

   Don Edwards SFBNWR

New Bay Trail Pages:

Eden Landing, Hayward

Palo Alto Baylands 2009

Sunnyvale Baylands (2011)

Moffett Bay Trail

Stevens Creek Trail (2012)

Stevens Creek to Cooley Landing

Shoreline Park Mountain View (2009)

Guadalupe River Trail
101 to Alviso

Alviso Sunset

San Tomas Aquino Creek

Ravenswood

Port of Redwood City

Redwood Shores



High-Tide Pages:


Palo Alto Baylands High Tide 11/26/11

Alviso King Tide Pictures, 2/9/13

High Tide at the Palo Alto Baylands 1/30/14

King Tide and Low Tide at the Hayward Regional Shoreline, 1/25/14 and 1/29/14


Facebook Albums

Stevens Creek Trail, 1/29/12

Bide ride from Guadalupe River Park to Alviso, 2/5/12

Shoreline at Mountain View, 7/1/12

Along the Bay Trail, San Mateo, Foster City, 8/19/12

Guadalupe River Trail to Ulistac Natural Area, 8/25/12

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail to 49'ers Stadium, 8/25/12

San Francisco Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge, 9/15/12

Ulistac Natural Area, 1/12/14, Santa Clara

King Tides at Alameda Creek and Coyote Hills, 1/31/14

King Tide at Don Edwards SFBNWR, Fremont, 1/31/14

America's Cup Quest: Redwood City to Redwood Shores, 7/6/14

Levi's Stadium, San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, 8/2/14


San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail


San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail near Great America

Introduction

The San Tomas Aquino/Saratoa Creek Trail is an important feeder trail to the San Francisco Bay Trail. It brings people from residential and industrial areas in Santa Clara to the Bay Trail that runs between the Sunnyvale Baylands and Alviso.

Saratoga Creek feeds into San Tomas Aquino Creek. Farther south, trail segments have been built and are being planned along Saratoga Creek, but as yet they are not connected. A completed section is in San Jose and runs next to Lawrence Expressway from Bollinger Road to Prospect Road.

The San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail has been built gradually over the years, starting from the north and moving south, with isolated trail segments being connected by bridge under-crossings. Currently, it is nearly continuous from the Bay Trail to Cabrillo Avenue as a paved Class 1 (off-road) multi-use trail for bicycles and pedestrians. There are only two on-grade street crossings required along the route. South of Cabrillo Avenue, the trail is an on-street bike route, with marked bike lanes along the streets. These are the trail segments and their lengths:
  • Reach 1 (Bay Trail to Agnew Road) - 1.76 miles
  • Reach 2 (Agnew Road to Scott Boulevard) - 0.84 miles, opened May 2006.
  • Reach 3 (Scott Boulevard to Monroe Street) - 1.25 miles
  • Reach 4 (Monroe Street to Pruneridge Avenue) - 4.0 miles (0.2 miles of creek trail section to Cabrillo Avenue opened in October 2009 + 3.8 miles of bike lanes and routes that currently exist)
Here are pictures of the latest trail maps. Click on the images for a full-size version:


This is the overall street and trail map, showing all nearby trails.


This emphasizes just the San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail, showing connecting streets and trails. This is the official trail map.


Access Information

The trail can be accessed from the south end from Cabrillo Avenue or a little farther north at the Monroe Street Staging Area, which has a parking lot. Take Hwy 101 to the San Tomas Expressway exit, head south. To reach the Monroe Street Staging Area, turn left on Monroe Street. The parking lot for the trailhead is immediately on the left. To reach the end of the trail at Cabrillo Avenue, continue on San Tomas Expressway and turn right on Cabrillo Avenue. Look for on-street parking. There are many other access points to the trail along the street crossings. Parking is available on the nearby streets, but heed the "no parking" and "private parking" signs.

The best way to reach the trail by public transportation is to take the VTA Light Trail Train to the Great America Station on Tasman Drive. It is a short walking distance from the trail entrances on Tasman next to Great America and the Santa Clara Convention Center.

The Capitol Corridor/Altamont Commuter Express Train station is on Lafayette Street behind the 49'ers practice field and near Tasman Drive. There is a road that leads from the train station to the parking lot of the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club. There is an access point from there to the trail. There are also stairs from the train station to Tasman Drive, which can be taken west to the trail entrance.

Description and Views

The following pictures were taken along the trail route, starting at Cabrillo Avenue and continuing north all the way to the Bay Trail. The pictures may be looking north or south down the trail. The pictures from Cabrillo to Monroe were taken on 7/4/10. The pictures from Monroe to Tasman Drive were taken on 7/19/09. The pictures north of Tasman were taken on 7/19/07 or 7/19/09.


This is the start of the trail at Cabrillo Avenue, next to San Tomas Expressway. This is as far south as the trail will go as a Class 1 trail.


This is looking west on Cabrillo Avenue. The trail route is a marked bike lane along the street. Across the street is  the Walter E. Schmidt Youth Activity Center, which has a gym, classrooms, and skate park. Farther west is Cabrillo Middle School and Bowers Park. The trail route follows Cabrillo Avenue, then turns left to follow Calabazas Blvd., which runs on both sides of Calabazas Creek. The trail route will eventually end at Pruneridge Avenue, at the Santa Clara city limits.


Heading up the trail, the right side is separated from San Tomas Expressway by a concrete wall. The left side is landscaped.


San Tomas Aquino Creek comes into view as it emerges from an underground culvert.


Looking back, you can see San Tomas Aquino Creek disappearing into the culvert. The creek stays underground until south of Williams Road, which is south of I-280. It then runs next to San Tomas Expressway for several miles before turning to run through suburban neighborhoods. The creek originates in the hills above Saratoga on the slopes of El Sereno Open Space Preserve.


The trail is landscaped on both sides as it approaches the Monroe Trailhead.


This is the end of Saratoga Creek as it drains into the San Tomas Aquino Creek channel.


At the south end of the parking lot is a drinking fountain and the entrance to the trail.


This is the large parking lot at the Monroe Street Staging Area.


There is a series of interpretive signs arranced in a semi-circle at the Monroe Street bridge. This type of sign is used at several trail entrances. The signal there is the crossing to the trailhead. There is a perpendicular crossing for pedestrians and a diagonal crossing for bikes. Monroe Street leads to residential areas, so this is the best place for people from the neighborhoods to access the trail.


This is the trailhead at Monroe Street. There is a trail sign here. The trail follows along the west bank of the creek. From here, the creek is a straight storm drain channel. Consequently, the trail is also ruler-straight.


The trail approaches the first under-crossing, which is the Caltrain railroad bridge. North of the Caltrain tracks, the areas on either side of the creek are entirely industrial and non-residential.


This is the next under-crossing at Walsh Avenue.


At the north side of the Walsh Avenue under-crossing is another interpretive sign.


This is a view coming up from the Walsh Avenue under-crossings. All the under-crossings have bas-relief sculptures on the walls.


This is the straight trail north of Walsh Avenue, heading towards Central Expressway.


This is a closeup of the walls of the Central Expressway under-crossing.


This is a view looking south along the Central Expressway under-crossing.


This is a view looking north along the ramp of the Central Expressway under-crossing.


This is the trail leading to Scott Blvd.


This is the interpretive sign at the north Scott Blvd. trail entrance.


This is a view looking south at the entry ramp to the Scott Blvd. under-crossing.


This is the exit ramp looking south from the Hwy 101 under-crossing.


These are fish in San Tomas Aquino Creek at the Hwy 101 bridge footing.


This is a view looking back south from the Hwy 101 under-crossing.


This is a view looking south towards the start of the Hwy 101 under-crossing.


North of Hwy 101 is a pedestrian bridge leading to Intel. This is view looking north along the creek from the bridge.


This is the Mission College Blvd. under-crossing.


This is a view looking back south towards Mission College Blvd. There is another interpretive sign here at the trail entrance.


A short distance north is the only at-grade street crossing north of Monroe Steet. This is Agnew Road. There is a signal there for crossing the street. On the left is the employee entrance to the Great America Theme Park. The trail parallels Great America all the way to Tasman Drive.


This is a view looking south along the trail. The tall buildings at the Intel campus are on the left.


The rides at Great America can be seen to the west of the trail.


Ahead on the right are the twin Hetch Hetchy pipelines.


The huge pipelines carrying water from Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy reservoir emerge from underground, cross over the creek, and disappear underground again.


This is a view looking south at the Hetch Hetchy pipelines and the trail.


Looking north, to the left is the parking lot for Great America. Ahead is the bridge leading to the overflow parking lot for Great America. This is the proposed site of the 49'ers stadium. On the other side of that parking lot is the headquarters for the 49'ers and a youth soccer complex.


Ahead is the Tasman Drive under-crossing. The VTA Light Rail runs along Tasman Drive. The Great America station is just to the left.


On the other side of Tasman Drive to the east is the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club. This bridge leads to the golf course's driving range. A trail on the other side leads to the facility's parking lot.


This is a view looking back at the Great America Parkway under-crossing.

Ahead to the north is the Old Mountain View-Alviso Road under-crossing.


This is the ramp of the Old Mountain View-Alviso Road under-crossing.


This is a pedestrian bridge leading to an industrial campus on the east side of the creek.


Ahead is Hwy 237.


This is the trail going under Hwy 237 and its on and off-ramps.


This is the end of the trail, looking back at Hwy 237 and the trail junction with the Bay Trail.


There is a gravel trail that continues along the creek, which is now the Guadalupe Slough. This trail follows the slough and loops back to the Bay Trail at Calabazas Creek.


This is the Bay Trail bridge over San Tomas Aquino Creek. The trail ahead leads to Alviso.


This is the Bay Trail leading west to the Calabazas Creek Trail and the Sunnyvale Baylands.  The trail is an old road, but it is no longer open to vehicular traffic.


This is the entrance to the Calabazas Creek Trailin Sunnyvale. It is accessible, but not developed. The trail under 237 is dirt and can be muddy in wet weather. South of Old Mountain View-Alviso Road, the trail runs on top of the creek levee and is paved. However, the Tasman Drive under-crossing is not. The trail ends at Mission College Blvd. Before it gets there, a bridge leads across the creek to the JW Christian Greenbelt, a parkway that follows the Hetch Hetchy Pipeline right-of-way west and ends at Orchard Gardens Park, a few blocks east of N. Mathilda Ave.
 

This is the trail leading to Sunnyvale Baylands Park. This is a developed park with picnic areas, lawns, a playground, a garden, restrooms, and marsh viewing platforms.


Along the bank of Calabazas Creek is the Bay Trail leading to the trails along the Guadalupe Slough, the salt ponds, and water treatment ponds of the Sunnyvale Baylands. Eventually, this will connect to the Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View.


Along the Bay Trail gate is a map of the Sunnyvale Baylands.


Update 8/2/14

This is an update on the trail on 8/2/14. Quite a few things have changed. The biggest change has been the construction of Levi's Stadium south of Tasman Drive. While it has not changed the trail itself much, it has greatly affected what is next to the trail and access points to the trail. Events at the stadium will cause closure of the trail near the stadium on the days when they occur. At the end of the trail at Cabrillo Avenue, a Class 1 connector trail has been built adjacent to San Tomas Expressway, leading to El Camino Real. The on-street trail route has been marked off and delineated, with special trail features along those roads. The designated trail ends at Pruneridge Drive, though there are on-street bike routes that continue to the city borders. Here are pictures of those changes, heading south along the trail.


This is the trail approaching the Great America Parkway undercrossing. In the background is Levi's Stadium, new home of the San Francisco 49'ers.


Along the trail in this area are several informational signs by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.


This bridge, which has always been there, leads to the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club. It also leads to the new parking structure for the stadium. The small sign on the fence is from the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, which allocated $55,000 in 2000 to help build the first section of the trail. The Open Space Authority allocates 20% of its capital budget for urban open space projects.


This is the Tasman Drive undercrossing for the trail. Behind Tasman Drive is a new pedestrian bridge. One of the main gates to the stadium is at its northwest corner.


This is a view looking back towards Tasman Drive, showing the parking lots, the pedestrian bridge, and the connector trail to Tasman.


This is looking down the trail, showing 2 more pedestrian bridges leading to the stadium. There's also the old car bridge leading across the creek.


This is a view looking back up the trail at the stadium and its southwest entrance.


During events at Levi's Stadium, the trail will be closed at Agnew Road. Here are instructions for the detour:
EVENT DAY TRAFFIC: Bicycle traffic on the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail will be diverted in order to ensure the integrity of the stadium’s security perimeter. This temporary path diversion will send northbound traveling bicyclists east along Agnew Road, north along Lakeshore Drive, east along Gianera Street, north along the off-street pedestrian and bicycle path at the Gianera Street terminus, north through the VTA Parking Lot, northwest along Stars and Stripes Drive, south along Centennial Boulevard, and west along Tasman Drive, where bicyclists will be able to find the Bike Valet locations.


This is where the San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail reaches the intersection of San Tomas Expressway and Cabrillo Avenue. It was previously the end of the Class 1 trail.


On the other side of Cabrillo Avenue is a new Class 1 trail that parallels San Tomas Expressway. It starts next to the Santa Clara Skate Park and Cabrillo Middle School.


The trail runs next to the fields of Cabrillo Middle School.


Sound walls separate the trail from adjacent residences. Ahead is El Camino Real.


The trail ends at the intersection of El Camino Real and San Tomas Expressway. Both are very busy roads, so even though it's possible to continue by bike on either road, it's not recommended for inexperienced bicyclists, especially children. San Tomas Expressway has bike lanes, but traffic moves at high speed. El Camino Real is especially hazardous as it is a very busy commercial street, has no marked bike lanes, cars park along the side of the road, and there are frequent parking lot driveways.


This the end of the trail heading back to Cabrillo Avenue.


At the intersection of Cabrillo Avenue and San Tomas Expressway is a sign pointing to the San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail.


This is Cabrillo Avenue next to the Santa Clara Skate Park. This is where the trail becomes an on-street bike route. Note that the street has been marked with green showing the bike route for the trail.


Along Cabrillo Avenue, the green lane marks the bike path, allowing room for cars to park along the curb. The sign points along the trail route.


The trail crosses over Saratoga Creek. Even though the trail is called the San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail, it can't run along the banks of Saratoga Creek. The creek runs behind the backyards of homes, and there is not enough room for a trail along its banks.


Bowers Park is along the way, next to Saratoga Creek.


Past Bowers, the trail makes a jog to the left to continue on Cabrillo Ave.


At the intersection of Cabrillo Avenue and Calabazas, the trail turns left onto Calabazas. Note all the green. There are alternate trail routes on Calabazas and Cabrillo.


The trail crosses over Calabazas Creek. There's no room for a trail immediately along the creek banks. Instead, the creek forms the divider between northbound and southbound lanes of Calabazas Blvd. Even though the trail follows Calabazas Creek for a ways, it does not change its name. There is a Calabazas Creek Trail, but it's in Sunnyvale north of Hwy 101.


This is at the intersection of Cabrillo Ave. and southbound Calabazas Blvd. The sign there explains the green "bike boxes" at the intersections.


This is the trail map at this intersection. The blue triangles show the Class 1 trail, not including the new addition to El Camino Real. The solid green lines show the marked bike trail routes with dedicated bike lanes (Class 2). The dotted lines are streets that are suitable for bikes, but not wide enough to have dedicated bike lanes (Class 3). Green means the bike lanes are beginner routes suitable for novice bicyclists, including children. The dotted blue lines are intermediate routes for more experienced bicyclists on roads that have more car traffic. The red lines are recommended for advanced bicyclists who can handle dealing with busy or high-speed car traffic. Note that the solid green line, which is the San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail route, follows Calabazas Blvd., turns left onto Pomeroy Avenue, and ends at Pruneridge Avenue.


Along Calabazas Blvd., the trail is on the left side of the street next to the creek, with a buffer lane where cars are not allowed.


The bike route approaches busy El Camino Real. A left turn lane appears left of the bike lane. Bikes continuing on the trail route wait between the car lanes. There's a loop detector at the intersection detecting bikes, so there's no need to push the pedestrian crossing button at the intersection to activate the signal.


On the other side of El Camino Real, the bike lane jogs back to the left next to Calabazas Creek.


At the intersection of Calazas Blvd. and Pomeroy Ave., the trail and car lane swap places. Calabazas Blvd. ends here. The trail turns left onto Pomeroy.


The trail is a marked bike lane on the right side of Pomeroy Ave. It ends ahead at Pruneridge Avenue.


This is the trail map at this point. It's the last sign and map on the trail. There are bike lanes that continue on surface streets, but they are not part of the trail. Note the bike route on Pruneridge Avenue and Cronin Drive. That's what's shown below.


The bike lane along Pruneridge Ave. passes by Maywood Park.


Turn right at Cronin to follow the bike route south along the side of Maywood Park, which has playing fields and picnic areas.


Cronin Drive ends at Stevens Creek Blvd. This is the border of the City of Santa Clara. Beyond that is San Jose. The designated trail route in the master plan for the San Tomas/Saratoga creek Trail shows it following Pruneridge Ave. west to Tantau Ave. in Cupertino south, then east on Barnhart Ave. (Reach 5) to the start of the completed Saratoga Creek Trail in San Jose, which runs south to English Ave., a few blocks north of Prospect Avenue (Reach 6).


This sign explains why the bike lanes are green and how to use them.


This sign explains why the bike lanes are on the left.


This at one of the signaled intersections. Buried in the pavement are sensor loops that are sensitive enough to detect bicycles and trigger the signals, so bicycles need to stop here on top of the bike symbol. The sensors will not detect pedestrians, who must still use the pushbuttons at the intersections.


Links


Web page developed: 8/5/09, updated 7/5/10 and 8/3/14 by Ronald Horii
Information and opinions expressed here are the responsibility of the author.