Saturday, January 13, 2001

Monte Bello Ridge

Kathy, Nancy, Cindy and Michael take a very easy hike to start the season. See the Trip Report below.

FOM FOK Hiking Group

Montebello Ridge


The Monte Bello Ridge area spans the area from Stevens Canyon in Cupertino to Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. The immediate ridge area offers easy to moderate hikes along the exposed ridge line. There a plenty of views into the Santa Clara Valley and into the Stevens Creek Canyon. You can see from Los Gatos to San Mateo on the north side, and to the ocean on the south side. There are also connecting trails that will take you down to Rancho San Antonio, up to Skyline Boulevard, or down to the end of Stevens Canyon Road.

The ridge trails are a combination of wide access roads and narrower single track trails. Almost all of the trails are exposed, though the Stevens Creek Nature Trail loop offers some amount of cover.

A common hike from the Page Mill entrance, to the back pack area and back, is a four mile out-and-back hike with about 500 feet of climb out and descent back.

The Stevens Creek Nature Trail loop beginning at the Page Mill entrance is about 3 miles with about 500 feet of descent out and climb back.

You can also hike the ridge beginning at the end of Montebello Road, which begins near the Stevens Creek Reservoir. From the end of the road, the easy hike to the back pack area and back is about 4.6 miles with about 400 feet of undulating climb.

If the weather is not too hot, one or two small water bottles will suffice for the above hikes. In the hottest part of summer, the exposed ridge is very hot. Take extra water then.

The trails are free of poison oak, except for those portions that go under cover, such as the Stevens Creek Nature Trail, or the Canyon Trail down to the end of Stevens Canyon Road. Even on these trails, the trails are well travelled and it is easy to avoid the poison oak.


From Palo Alto, take the very curvy Page Mill Road. About 7 miles west of Interstate 280 and little more than half a mile before the summit at Skyline Boulevard, you will find the entrance to the Montebello Open Space Preserve on the south side of the road. This is the normal entrance to the park.

For an alternate entrance to the other end of the park, from Cupertino, take the Stevens Canyon Road which begins at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Stevens Creek Road. As you round the Stevens Creek Reservoir, take a right onto Montebello Road. There is very limited parking at the end of the long, curvy road -- only room for 3 or 4 cars.

Click on the map below for a larger, higher quality map.

See also

The Midpenninsula Regional Open Space District page is at

The Bay Area Hiker has a description at

Return to hiking home page

Copyright © 2000-2002 by Michael Wimble, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Trip Report

Another very easy hike is offered to begin the season, and again, the temperature seems to be a deterrent.

Cindy, a mystic visitor from the Far East (Boston), joins us today.

We begin the hike (left) at the site of the annual CaribFest -- a place where loud Reggae music is played from midnight to midnight on St. Swithins day (July 15). You can see the huge steel pans on the towers (left). Performers climb the great towers, remove the covers from the drums, and hang down from strong cords and play Calypso and Reggae to the valley below.

While Nancy, Cindy and Kathy stay on the dry access road, I take the opportunity to meander all over God's green acres. There is a light fog in the Stevens Creek valley and the broken, puffy clouds offer some spectacular lighting of the valley floor. I took about 40 pictures attempting to capture the walking shadows, with only modest success.

There were plenty of deer track and lots of coyote scat. I saw evidence of wild pigs on one of the peninsulas overhanging the valley. When I came up to a dense growth of oaks, heavy with mistletoe, I startled a huge large flock of large and noisy birds.

A large herd of bicyclists were gathering where we began our hike, and we were passed by a dozen or so riders as we wandered. We even saw a tandem mountain bike. On Montebello Road itself, we passed a bicyclist riding an Easy Rider recumbent (a.k.a. a "bent" bike) on the way up the mountain, and met him again 90 minutes later on the way down.

Before leaving the area, the girls conjured up an impromptu rap performance called, "I got your hike right here, sucka" (picture below).

On our way down, heading towards Hobbees again for another after-hike brunch, we noticed that the Pichetti winery was hosting live music on Sunday. I don't know if that was a one-time event.