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

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Hidden Villa

This was a chance for everyone to test their rain readiness. As often happens, several people signed up to go but as the time approached, they dropped out one after another.

The day started with sprinkles and the rain came down harder and harder as the day went on. It wasn't a frigid rain, however, and the rain gear retained a lot of the body heat. My problem was that with my hood up, my body heat leaked out around my neck and head and continually fogged my glasses. Next time, I need to remember to carry the anti-fog goo for my glasses.

Kathy's problems were primarily with her rain pants. The water repellency was wearing off and she just got wet whenever we left the covering of trees.

Because of the rain, we only saw one other couple on the trails. And, there was only a couple of other people in the whole park. I did get to practice my "silent" walking. When we have a large group, we sometimes make a horrific noise stomping along, shuffling our feet, talking, and running into trees and falling over cliffs. Now and then, I like to be able to hear everything happening around me.

The streams were flowing more than I've ever seen them. And we got to walk through a couple clouds. All in all, hiking in the rain was rather pleasant. We'll have to do it more often.

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

Hidden Villa is a frequent destination of the FOM/FOK hiking group. Located near FootHill College, it encompases 1600 acres in Los Altos. It has many environmental education offerings, including a multicultural summer camp. It also includes a hostel. They are open Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays) during daylight hours, and closed during to the general public during summer camp (see their web site for the schedule).

The trails are well traveled and well maintained. There are two major hiking loops, each climbing about 600 or 700 feet if you go to the top, with several trail options that climb across two hills or follow the several streams. The hikes are all easy to moderate on the "Wimble Scale".

Poison oak, while present, is usually well trimmed and not a problem if you stay on the trails. There are wildflowers for a large portion of the year as there are wet and dry regions, exposed and covered regions, and a wide variety of biomes.

Plan on at least one large water bottle—or more if it is very warm. You can buy cold water in a bottle for $1 at the Visitor's Center.


Take I-280 to the El Monte exit. Follow El Monte west (away from the bay), past the stop light at Foothill College to the stop sign at the intersection with Elena and Moody Road. Bear left on Moody Road and travel 1.7 miles, following the signs to Hidden Villa, which will be on your left. Parking is $5.00. There are toilets at the visitor center right next to the parking lot.

On line information

The Hidden Villa home page is located at

Virtual reality panoramic views are at

Another site with pictures of trails

Another site which discusses the hostel at Hidden villa