San Jose, California
|Pacheco State Park|
Anna J. is our host and has this to say about the spot she’s chosen for our hike:
Pacheco State Park is one of my all time favorites. I remember seeing it for the first time, six years ago as I drove into San Jose. I had been on the road for a grueling 10 hour trip from Riverside (don't ask me why it took so long). When I saw the park, I was mesmerized. Since, I have hiked it several times. Each time it seems during the wet winter months. Even though wet, I find an inner peace there that keeps me from getting cold. Ok, but that is just me.
The park does put up quite a display of spring wildflowers and it may be timed just right for our hike. The area is semiarid, with daytime temperatures ranging from 80 to 100 degrees in the summer and only 45 to 65 degrees in the winter. It is very windy here especially on the high ridges during spring and summer.
From San Jose: Take 101 South exit CA-152 East/S 10th St. and turn left. Drive through town and turn right to stay on CA-152. Go past the garlic farms and fruit stands. Obey traffic signs and watch for daytime headlight sections. Once you pass Casa de Fruita and you climb a little way, start watching out for the turn off to the park. The actual road is called Dinosaur Point Road but that is not what catches your eye. First you will see a sign for a truck rest stop and immediately following that will be the Pacheco State Park sign. Don't miss it or else you will have to drive a while before you find a safe place to turn around. Drive time is one hour from San Jose. For Internet mapping, the park address is 38787 Dinosaur Point Road, Hollister CA. Parking is $5.
Our trail this time will be much easier than the last time I hosted a hike here. I promise. We will be heading out of the day use parking lot along Spikes Peak Road to Pig Pond Trail. We will then proceed along the Canyon Loop Trail only until it brings us to Dinosaur Lake Trail. We will NOT be hiking to Spikes Peak. The 500' elevation gain is mostly on Dinosaur Lake Trail and is easy going with some switchbacks. You will be able to view the impressive windmills that generate green energy and marvel at the sights along the way. When I went this December I saw many salamanders along the trail so watch where you step. I also saw what looked like to me antelope (but were actually tule elk), and of course birds of prey. Our meeting spot will be either above or along Dinosaur Lake, depending on the wind. This is a 5 mile, easy Level 2 hike.
As mentioned earlier, it gets pretty darn windy here so wear layered clothes. Also, this park is open to the elements, which means if the sun is shining there is a very good chance that you will get sunburn and if it is raining you will get wet. So, as many of you already know, we hike no matter what, so take along whatever the weather dictates (i.e. hats, sunscreen, raincoat, something water resistant to sit on, etc.) As always, bring lots of water and some newcomers. See What to Wear and Bring. No dogs on trail (sorry).
Maps and park information can be found at Trail Maps/ Park Info
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