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Rancho San Antonio

Rancho San Antonio County Park

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March 28th, 1999

7.5 miles
1600 vertical feet
Total Time: 3:14

Rating: 7/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

Jean and I hiked in Rancho San Antonio.

Sunday afternoon is not the best time to visit Rancho San Antonio. Especially on a glorious early spring Sunday afternoon. While the weather couldn't have been perfect, it attracted everyone to the park in droves. We circled for about 15 minutes before finally finding a parking spot. If I had to do it again, I'd come early in the morning.

After our parking adventure, we started hiking along the Permanente Creek trail. This flat trail joins two parking lots. At the end of the trail, we started up the Coyote Trail. Amid the families and baby strollers, we hiked higher and higher. The Coyote Trail is set pleasantly amidst a dense covering of trees. Green vegetation surrounded us.

Soon we broke out into the open and took the fork off to the left, continuing on the Coyote Trail. At this point the trail descends down to Deer Hollow Farm. Along the way we could see private residences and other buildings off to our right. We could see parking lots and hear the sound of children's voices.

The trails in this hike are generally hiking/equestrian trails. However, after reaching Deer Hollow Farm we took a left onto Wildcat Canyon Trail, which is for hiking only. And a beautiful hiking trail it is. It follows a creek and reminded me in places of Soberanes Canyon. As we started to emerge from amongst the trees we spotted 3 deer about 20 feet off the trail to our right. But they scampered away as I focused my camera on them.

Wildcat Canyon

We then made a brief left onto Upper Wildcat Canyon before heading right up the PG&E trail. This trail climbs and climbs from about 600 feet elevation to 1600 feet. During this time we could see the Upper High Meadow trail the entire time, to our right, across the canyon. We were, yet again, racing against the sunset. But every time we neared a corner where we thought we would bridge to the other side, we met yet another false summit.

Along the way we were met with some nice views of the Santa Clara Valley. But when we finally did make it to the vista point at the end of the PG&E trail (underneath the gentle hum of a transformer, of course), we had views of much of the Bay Area. Mt. Diablo and Mt. Hamilton were clearly visible. After a brief stop here, we continued along the Upper High Meadow trail, downhill all the way.

View from the top

The sky looking west near the top just before sunset, April 15, 1999

When we reached the intersection of Upper High Meadow and Wildcat Loop, we saw a group of people waiting on a hill, presumably waiting to watch the sun set over the valley. We, however, continued on into the forest. After continuing our descent down the High Meadow trail, we reached the intersection of Wildcat Canyon and Coyote, we retraced our steps along the Coyote Trail back to the parking lot.

As we were walking back along the Permanente Creek trail, we spotted two deer silhouetted against the darkening sky. And then we were back. A tidy 7.5 miles, 1600 feet of climbing in just 3 hours, 14 minutes. On the drive back we even spotted a rabbit pointing its ears up at us. And then it was back to civilization, with the realization that tomorrow we'd have to be at work again.

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