What do you think of when you hear “San Jose?”
The city’s compact downtown, its beautiful older neighborhoods, its valley-floor topography surrounded by mountain vistas – perhaps, but for many, San Jose is suburbia. The country’s tenth largest city is visually characterized by single-family homes, neighborhood parks and an abundance of retail. So is suburbia worth a visit? Absolutely. Viewing suburbia from south San Jose trails offers an opportunity to understand the pace, peacefulness and appeal of the area.
Arrive in south San Jose by taking Light Rail to the Ohlone/Chynoweth Station. This large transfer station is just 1/3 mile from the Guadalupe River Trail (note: the trail is not yet continuous to downtown San Jose which we wrote about here). Make a left turn as you leave the station, and travel west along Chynoweth Avenue to reach the Guadalupe River Trail at the wide roadway’s cul-de-sac. Traveling south will offer a number of side-trip options including Cilker Park (a beautifully-landscaped neighborhood park with its own trail connection), Oakridge Mall (137 stores, accessible from Winfield Boulevard) and Lake Almaden Park (a 65-acre regional facility with San Jose’s only lakefront “beach” with swimming). Travel along the continuous paved trail around the perimeter of the lake to reach Los Alamitos Creek Trail and 4.7 miles of wooded trail that follows the waterway.
The trail system is a popular walking and biking route, with access to two neighborhood parks and adjacent to the Santa Teresa Foothills and surrounding residential neighborhoods. The trail system is generally parallel to low volume Camden Avenue. You eventually reach a street crossing (Camden Avenue and Queenswood Way) where three options present themselves. You can remain on the east side of Camden, cross the roadway bridge, and continue along the Calero Creek Trail, a part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. This short paved trail reaches Harry Road, where the trail system continues on the eastern side of the creek as a dirt path. The journey is worthwhile because you’ll reach Stile Ranch Trail that you to the surrounding hillsides. Back at Camden/Queenswood, you can choose to cross Camden Avenue and travel on either side of the creek to also reach Harry Road. From this point, travel about ¾ mile to the west to reach the County’s Almaden Quicksilver Park (4,150 acres of open space, historical elements of former mercury mines and Casa Grande; Santa Clara County’s 2nd most historical building).
A trail journey in south San Jose offers many rewards and might even provide you with a new perspective on suburbia.
Have you been to these parts of suburbia? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
From time to time we’ll be inviting friends of Transit and Trails to share stories, trips and photos here on the blog. This is the third from Yves Zsutty of the City of San Jose. They have put over 150 trailheads into Transit & Trails, posted all kinds of pictures, and been a vocal advocate of our work.
Photos by Yves Zsutty, City of San Jose and Callander Associates.