Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month, San Francisco Bay Area residents now can enjoy a spectacular redwood park near Los Gatos. The 1,432-acre Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve features an easy-access interpretive trail around Upper Lake and 6 miles of hiking and equestrian trails. The trails pass through shaded redwood and fir forests, along cool perennial creeks, and offer spectacular views of the Sierra Azul Range.
Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is now open to the public daily.
“Thanks to local voters who approved Measure AA in 2014, Midpen has been able to move forward with this project, restoring the land and opening this first phase of public access,” said Ana María Ruiz, General Manager of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which owns the property. “Bear Creek Redwoods is one of our truly special places, and now the public can connect with nature in its cool redwood forests and discover its rich history.”
People have been drawn to Bear Creek Redwoods for centuries, including native Ohlone, Gold Rush-era loggers, wealthy estate owners and Jesuit seminarians. The property was slated to become a golf course and luxury homes during Silicon Valley’s first tech boom until a public-private partnership, led by the district and the Peninsula Open Space Trust, protected it in 1999.
Now that Bear Creek Redwoods is preserved as public open space, the district is restoring its creeks and once clear-cut redwood forests to health for wildlife, plants and people. In partnership with Valley Water, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is removing harmful invasive plants like English ivy and French broom so that spring wildflowers, rare salamanders, and many other native species can thrive. The district is also improving water quality in the preserve’s many creeks, streams and ponds by converting old and eroding logging roads into recreational trails.
The new park is already extremely popular on weekends, so much so that on-site parking has been filling up quickly. Consider carpooling or visiting on a weekday. There is no off-site parking nearby or along the two-lane, winding Bear Creek Road.
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