OTE Ratings: O7/T7/E5
Distance: ? miles
Time: 2 - 3 hours
USGS 7.5' topo: Cupertino, CA
Alternative entrance (N 37° 17' 10", W 122° 03' 15"): Take Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road (De Anza) or Bubb Road to Prospect. Turn west and take Prospect to its end (it makes a left turn at one point).
From the sunken parking lot, ride farther into the park on the paved road. Take the ?Canyon? Trail (dirt road), which goes off to the left from the paved road, and then starts a long (10 to 20 minute) climb up into the park. There isn't much shade on this climb, and it can be unpleasantly hot. At the top of the climb, there are some oak trees and some great views. The road continues along the ridge with some downs-and-ups (mostly up), and a couple of roads descend to the left as you climb to the junction with the Lookout Trail.
Just above the Lookout trail, there is a wide flat spot, and a short singletrack descends from it to the Lookout trail. [Option: take Lookout trail, it returns to this main trail a ways farther down.] Continue on the ridge trail as it descends to the gate into the Garrod Stables property. Cross into that area, and at the "Nob Hill" sign, climb UP the challenging singletrack. (Or, you can go around Nob Hill by veering left here.) From the top of the hill, go on down the other side, where we rejoin the weenie trail around Nob hill.
Go on and then bear left, and this trail hits a tee intersection. (A left would take you down (and up) some fun singletrack, but that's for another day.) Turn right at that tee, and you will descend on singletrack along the fence at the edge of the park. You'll pass through a gate, and come to a very steep downhill section (again, there is a bunny trail around the worst part) with some wooden waterbars with dropoffs on the downhill sides. Get some speed on the last bit of this section so that you can climb the short but challenging hill to the water tower.
After that, the trail goes out to a road (Parker Ranch Court, I believe), then back onto trail along next to the golf course. The trail here has a short section of paved singletrack! After it goes back out to the road again, you have to do a few kilometers of road riding (bear left onto Parker Ranch Court, then left onto a short (unnamed?) road that crosses the creek, and then left onto Prospect Road). At the end of Prospect Road, you are at "the Prospect side".
Go on up the (paved) hill, turn right onto the trail/road that then continues up into the park. At the top of this trail (a grassy knoll we'll call "Point A"), turn right. This takes you out towards the Bay, to a complex junction ("Point B") where the road you're on continues steeply up, or you could turn right to go down another steep road, or a single-track ("Seven Springs Loop") traverses the hill, between the two wider-road choices. If you go up the steep hill, you get to "Hunter's Point", a great view of the west side of the Santa Clara Valley, and a fun but very steep descent to join up with Seven Springs Loop. It's a pretty fun, mostly downhill singletrack, and a fairly steep climb back up. I've heard the last bit of that climb referred to as "The Wall"; I have never ridden up it. About 2/3 of the way back up the hill, you can bail out and make an easier climb back to Point B.
Once you've climbed back up to point B, turn left to head back past point A (but bear right instead of returning down to the Prospect entrance). Continue down and then up towards the ridge. This dirt road hits the one we came in on. Turn right and take the road back down to below the dam. Remember the 15 mph speed limit! Rangers here have radar guns and aren't shy about using them.
©1995-2015 Doug Landauer
©1995-2015 Ross Finlayson