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

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Rancho San Antonio

Michael here. The weather report, even at 1 am on Saturday, said that there would be rain on Sunday morning. So, I went to bed at 3 am expecting the hike to be cancelled. But, several people called Sunday morning and wanted to go on a hike no matter what. So, Kathy took 7 others out to Rancho San Antonio, thinking that a closer, shorter hike would fare better in case it really did rain.

I sorry I missed the hike. When Kathy got back, she told me all about the adventures that happened. I was still half asleep, so I might have misheard some of what she said. Also, nobody took a digital camera, so I didn't get any actual pictures for the gallery. Instead, I took Kathy's description of the hike, and, well, look at the gallery yourself.

For the gallery of pictures from the hike, click HERE.


This park is located near the intersection of Interstate 280 and Highway 85. It offers a very wide variety of hiking options. You can take totally flat, short hikes up to Deer Hollow Farm and back, or you can take long hikes, over 10 miles, climbing over 1000 feet. For the aggressive hiker, you can take a 20 mile round trip hike to the top of Black Mountain and back, with about 3000 feet of climb.

The shorter hikes are all under cover while the longer hikes along the ridge lines are largely exposed. There are several streams with bridge crossings. Most of the streams only run for the first half of the year.

The trails are all well maintained, wide enough for two abreast or more, and heavily used, so there is little to worry about poison oak unless you go off trail. There are, however, a fair number of rattle snakes that have been sighted, but they are easy to avoid. Bob cats are rare but not unheard of. Even mountain lions have been seen. Deer and quail are plentiful. There is a large flock of wild turkeys in the area. In the spring, there is a wide variety of wild flowers, and Deer Hollow farm has a garden with a large selection of plants that you might see on a farm. To fully appreciate the park, stop at Deer Hollow Farm and let one of the docents give you a tour and a lot of information about the area.

For easy trails of less than 5 miles, plan on at least one small water bottle. For trails of 3 to 10 miles, which will involve a moderate amount of climbing, bring at least 2 small water bottles. Trails of 7 to 15 miles will involve a fair amount of climbing, so bring at least two large water bottles. For the great hike to the top of Black Mountain and back, plan on 96 ounces of water or so to reach the top. You can refill at the back pack area at the top, but you will need to purify your water with Clorox or some other method.


Exit Interstate 280 at Foothill Boulevard. Head south and turn right immediately on Cristo Rey Drive. The park entrance is about one mile up the road on your left, a few yards beyond the roundabout. There are three parking lots which fill up quickly and early. If you arrive after 8 am, you will probably find it hard to find a close parking place. If you arrive after 9 am, you may not find a parking place at all.

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

See also