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Coyote Creek Trail South
Hellyer Park to Anderson Lake Park
Santa Clara County Parks Trail


Coyote Creek Bike path, bridge over Coyote Creek near Parkway Lake, San Jose

Note: These are new Web pages based on my old Coyote Creek Trail page. This has been migrated from www.geocities.com/bayareaparks.

Coyote Creek

Coyote Creek is the longest creek in Santa Clara County. The creek starts its 60-mile long trek in the rugged hills of 87,000-acre Henry Coe State Park east of Gilroy. It's a wild mountain stream here that can provide whitewater boating. It then gets tamed as it fills Coyote Lake and Anderson Lake. Below Anderson Dam, the creek flows through the Coyote Valley in the Coyote Creek Parkway. Here, the hard-working creek does its job to re-charge the underground aquifers as it fills the series of percolation ponds along the way. These ponds are used for fishing and boating. Starting at Tulare Hill, the creek becomes an urban waterway, running through suburban and industrial neighborhoods in San Jose. North of San Jose, it passes through Milpitas, then enters San Francisco Bay between Alviso and Sunnyvale. Part of it flows into the Coyote Creek Lagoon in Fremont

Coyote Creek Trail Description

This page describes the south part of the Coyote Creek Trail, which is under the jurisdiction of the Santa Clara County Parks. This part of the Coyote Creek Trail is a 15-mile long, paved, mostly level multi-use trail that runs along Coyote Creek from Hellyer County Park, near Yerba Buena Road, through South San Jose and the Coyote Valley, and ends near Anderson Lake County Park in Morgan Hill. (See here for a trail map.) It's a popular trail for walkers, bikers, equestrians, and skaters. A large part of it is through rural areas, but it is a well-developed trail. There are parks, picnic tables, benches, and rest areas along the way, as well as emergency phones. It provides urban dwellers at its northern end an escape route into the country at its southern end. The section north of Hellyer is under San Jose city parks jurisdiction and is described in the Coyote Creek Trail North page. In Hellyer Park, the trail starts from the Yerba Buena Road undercrossing by the Yerba Buena Group Picnic site, parallels the creek, crosses the park road and runs next to the velodrome. (See here for a map of Hellyer Park.) The trail crosses the creek, goes under the Hellyer Avenue bridge, follows along a deep and shady part of Coyote Creek, and arcs around Cottonwood Lake. 223-acre Hellyer is a popular urban park, with tree-shaded picnic areas, lawns, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, an off-leash dog run, and playgrounds. The Hellyer Park Velodrome is an Olympic-sized rink for bicycle racing. Cottonwood Lake, a former rock quarry, is a popular fishing lake. A separate path circles around the lake.


Coyote Creek Trail at the north end of Hellyer County Park


Hellyer Park Velodrome


Cottonwood Lake, Hellyer County Park


Coyote Creek Trail approaching the Hwy 101 under-crossing

Leaving Hellyer Park, the trail goes under Hwy 101 and passes by a disc golf course run by the Silicon Valley Disc Golf Club. It runs at the base of the hill at creek level. Parts of the creek can be seen right next to the trail. This part may flood in high water. Where the trail runs close to creek-level, the high water table has caused the tree roots to form speed bumps in the trail. These natural speed bumps can be found at several stretches along the trail. Then trail then turns and goes up a short rise to run higher above the creek. It runs through a deeply-shaded segment along the backyards of some of the southernnmost high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley. This is the Edenvale Technology Park area, where new industrial buildings have been popping up like wildflowers. Along the trail is a huge concrete building that was once a manufacturing facility. It is now the home of the Silver Creek Sportsplex, which is "the largest fitness and indoor sports facility under one roof in North America." A bridge over the creek leads to Shady Oaks Park, a San Jose city park with picnic areas, playing fields, playgrounds, and an abandoned orchard, on Coyote Road. On Silver Creek Valley Road is a staging area for the Coyote Creek Trail. It has a gravel parking lot, restrooms, and drinking fountains. At Silver Creek Valley Road, you can depart from the trail and take the road up the hill, passing through the exclusive Silver Creek development and enter the Evergreen Valley, where the Silver Creek Valley Trail is being built. The trail passes under Silver Creek Valley Road and crosses over the creek on an old bridge. Continuing south, the Coyote Creek Trail passes by some old fruit orchards and eucalyptus-lined percolation ponds.


Trail below Hellyer Ave., east of 101


Coyote Creek Trail by poppy-covered hill in the Edenvale Technology Park


Bridge to Shady Oaks Park


Silver Creek Valley Road bridge under-crossing


Coyote Creek and Trail south of Silver Creek Valley Road


Trail next to Hwy 101 between Silver Creek Valley Road and Enzo Drive


Coyote Creek Trail by old field north of Enzo Drive


Silicon Valley Blvd. bridge under-crossing

At Silicon Valley Blvd., the trail passes behind the Holiday Inn, which has a restaurant if you're hungry and not too dusty. For fast food, go west on Bernal Road to the shopping centers near Santa Teresa Blvd., but be careful of the gauntlet of freeway on and off-ramps. If you continue west on Bernal Road, you'll enter Santa Teresa County Park. A bridge over Coyote Creek at Silicon Valley Blvd. leads east and south to the Basking Ridge neighborhood. A multi-use paved nature trail parallels the road there for 0.7 miles. Below it is a short equestrian trail.


Basking Ridge Trail

South of Silicon Valley Blvd., the Coyote Creek Trail ducks under Hwy 85 and 101, and passes by new subdivisions. It skirts Metcalf Park, a San Jose city park, which has lawns, a playground, basketball courts, picnic tables, restrooms, and drinking fountains, making it a good place for a rest stop. The trail continues alongside a series of percolation ponds, including one used for water-skiing by the Santa Clara County Water Ski Club. A wide gravel path, which parallels the paved trail, runs on top of a levee by the percolation ponds. The trail then crosses over Coyote Creek near the privately-run Parkway Lake. Parkway Lake is an excellent fishing spot, where no state fishing license is required. It's heavily planted with trout in the winter, catfish in the summer, and a few large sturgeon.


Metcalf Park, where the gravel levee trail splits from the park's paved trail


Trail south of Metcalf Park, next to Forsum Road


Percolation pond next to Monterey Road between Metcalf Park and Metcalf Road


Bridge over Coyote Creek by Parkway Lakes

Near Parkway Lake, the Coyote Creek Trail runs along the edge of Monterey Road. Here is the Coyote Narrows, where the Santa Teresa Hills and the east foothills converge. West of Monterey Road is Tulare Hill, which sits like a cork in the bottle of the Coyote Narrows. North of it is the highly urbanized Silicon Valley. South of it is the rural Coyote Valley. Grass-covered, nearly treeless Tulare Hill is cloaked in wildflowers in the spring. On its southeast corner, is Calpine's huge 600-megawatt Metcalf Energy Center. The towers of the power plant can be seen through the trees on the trail. South of Tulare Hill is the site of the Coyote Valley Research Park. Plans have been made to develop the Coyote Valley, starting here, but they are currently on-hold. On the north side of Tulare Hill, the Coyote-Alamitos Canal levee ends. The levee is a proposed route for the Coyote-Alamitos Canal Trail leading along the Santa Teresa Hills to the Alamitos Creek Trail.

South of Metcalf Road, the trail enters the Coyote Valley. You can cross Metcalf Road and continue on the trail or cross Monterey Road at the Metcalf Road intersection and take it south to the tiny farming community of Coyote. The Coyote Bait and Tackle Shop is there and is one of the best places in the South Bay for fishing gear and information on local fishing conditions. They also have drinks and snacks. Across Monterey Road is the old Coyote Inn Stage Stop and the Coyote Grange Hall. The safest way to get back to the Coyote Creek Trail is to head south to Bailey Avenue, cross Monterey Highway, and take it back north to a trail access path a little north of Encinal School. You can also take Monterey Road farther north to Coyote Ranch Road. The trail passes by Coyote Ranch, which is an historic ranch now used for corporate and group picnics and barbecues, with an old-fashioned country atmosphere. The equestrian trail begins at Coyote Ranch Road. It follows a separate path along the creek from the bicycle/pedestrian trail, often on the opposite side of the creek.


Coyote Ranch in the Coyote Valley

From Coyote Ranch, the trail passes by the fenced Officer Gene Simpson Dog Training Area, used by the South County Schutzhund Club. Just past it, the trail crosses the creek, then runs along a large pond before dipping down to cross the creek again. This creek crossing can get flooded in high water.


Pond between Coyote Ranch and Bailey Road


View of Coyote Creek from the creek crossing north of Bailey Road

A short distance to the south is the Bailey Road under-crossing. There are access paths up to the road on both sides. Bailey Road can be taken west to reach Calero County Park. The trail passes by ranches, sunny open fields, fruit tree-laden orchards, and the Coyote Creek Golf Club. The shady Sycamore Rest Area, which has picnic tables, is along the trail near the golf course. The golf course used to be the old Riverside Golf Course before it was revamped and enlarged into a Jack Nicklaus-designed 36-hole course. Riverside Drive, the former main entry to the Riverside Golf Course crosses the trail. It is now a maintenance entrance to the new golf course, closed to cars. The main entrance to the golf course is via an off-ramp from Hwy 101.


Trail and rest area west of the Coyote Creek Golf Club, north of the Riverside Drive

South of Riverside Drive, the trail runs between farm fields and a marsh area, occasionally shaded by sycamore trees.


Trail and deer west of the Coyote Creek Golf Club, south of Riverside Drive

After passing by an orchard, the trail crosses over the creek on a bridge, then heads through a wide area  of open fields. It turns right and follows along the base of a low hill, called Perry's Hill. Past the hill is the eucalyptus reset area, which has picnic tables shaded by eucalyptus trees. The trail passes by large reed-lined percolation ponds (the Ogier Quarry Ponds). You can go fishing in some of these ponds, but catching is another matter. Future plans call for this area to be developed into the Perry's Hill Recreation Area. This will have a new entrance road, picnic areas, restroom, a nature center, a dog training area (relocated from the Coyote Ranch area), trails around the ponds, disc golf courses, canoe/kayak access, and swimming areas.


Trail leads through open fields towards Perry's Hill

The trail intersects Ogier Avenue, then turns and runs parallel to the road between more ponds.


These ponds next to the trail were once rock quarries. In the background is Hwy 101 and Coyote Ridge.

The trail crosses the road just before the Santa Clara County Model Airplane Skypark, run by the Tomcats R/C airplane club. There are bleachers and restrooms here. This is a good place to stop for a rest and an airshow, as you watch the fast, agile planes do their showy aerobatics. During scheduled airshows, they sell snacks here.


R/C model airplane club field north of Anderson Dam


Lupines by the trail south of the Model Airplane Skypark

The trail follows along a wide portion of the creek. It passes under Hwy 101 and enters a complex of dirt and paved trails near Anderson Dam. This is the site of the historic Malaguerra Winery. There are still some buildings left over in the area. The paved trail crosses Coyote Creek on a wide bridge, runs through an old orchard, and ends in the middle of a subdivision at Morning Star Drive near Malaguerra Avenue in the city of Morgan Hill. On the opposite side of Coyote Creek at the end of Burnett Avenue is an equestrian staging area. You can take Malaguerra to Cochrane Road, which leads to Anderson Lake County Park. The tree-shaded park here has picnic areas and playing fields along some of the most scenic stretches of Coyote Creek. You can take a steep road to the top of Anderson Dam to see the reservoir.  Anderson Reservoir is the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County and can be an excellent warm-water fishery. In the wintertime, during particularly heavy rainy seasons, Anderson Dam can spill, producing the most spectacular waterfall in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, it also tends to flood the creek, closing and sometimes damaging the trail.


Open field in the Malaguerra Winery Historic Area


Coyote Creek Trail through the old Peet Road Orchard, approaching Eagle View Drive


South end of the Coyote Creek Trail along Eagle View Drive at Morning Star Drive, looking towards the park office in the Malaguerra Staging Area.


Coyote Creek by the picnic areas in Anderson Lake County Park

While the Coyote Creek Trail is complete, there are plans for further developments in the parkway. Parts of the trail and some facilities will be relocated. Some old buildings will be demolished and new facilities will be built. Bridges will replace low-flow creek crossings.


Anderson Lake and Anderson Dam

From Anderson Dam, you can head back north along the Coyote Creek Trail. Keep in mind that the afternoon winds tend to blow south, so you can face a constant stiff headwind heading back. You might consider starting the trip at Anderson Dam and heading north, so you head downwind on the return trip. Either that, or arrange for a car shuttle. Alternatively, you can take Cochrane Road west and head back north on Monterey Road, along a stretch that used to be called "Blood Alley" before the Hwy 101 bypass was built, but it's about as pleasant as riding on a freeway. Santa Teresa Blvd is an alternate route, which can reached by taking Tilton Avenue west off Monterey Road. It's a straight, fast, 2-lane country road that runs by several farms and nurseries. Just past Bailey Avenue, it widens out and rises over a low hill. All of a sudden, you drop into the edge of the sea of suburbia at the southern tip of the Silicon Valley, and you're back to civilization. You could take Santa Teresa Blvd. to the Santa Teresa Light Rail Station and take the trolley to the Alamitos Creek Trail. You could also take Bernal Road to Santa Teresa County Park. Take the Mine Trail to the Fortini Trail to the Almaden Valley. The Calero Creek Trail begins there, which leads to the Alamitos Creek Trail.

More Information

 

Links

Created 1/13/03, updated and migrated 12/6/09 by Ronald Horii



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