San Jose, California
Grant Ranch Park
Joseph D. Grant, otherwise known as Grant Ranch, is the largest park within our county park system. That is a bold statement. However, we with Wild Recovery can say that we have come to this park on numerous occasions and have yet to duplicate a hike (so there it is). Joseph Grant Park has 9,553 acres of rich open space. The trails are intricate and diverse. The entire trail system within the park total 51 miles (wow). The diversity span the hills travel into the valley and on along the ridge. The elevation gain is had with sweat & tears as it is pretty steep. But the price is a fair one once you get a look around from the summit. The views are spectacular.
The landscape, of course, is characteristic of the east foothills. The hills are covered with low-lying grass and are scattered with majestic oaks. The oak-woodland community is said to be typical of California. The diverse oak community, which includes Blue, Black, Live and Valley Oak species, is a breeding and food habitat for over 70 species of bird and mammal. Keep a look out for the allusive Bobcat as I saw one on my last scouting.
Joseph D. Grant Park is located at the foot of Mt Hamilton. The valley, known as Halls Valley, is suspended between two major ridges in the Diablo Range. Seismic activity along the still active Calaveras Fault continues to alter the parks terrain even today.
From San Jose, take 280 toward the east hills. This will turn into Highway 680 as you pass Hwy 101. Take the Alum Rock exit and turn right. Go all the way through town to Mt. Hamilton Road and turn right. The park is only eight miles from this intersection but can take a good deal of time as the road has some serious turns. Use caution and give yourself enough time to arrive safely. We will meet in the Rosegarden Picnic Area (2nd parking lot to your left after you enter the park).
Our hike will take us along the valley on the Hotel Trail then up the Canada de Pala Trail were we will summit at 2700 feet cross Mt Hamilton Road find a quiet spot and have our meeting. We will come down the Halls Valley Trail pass by Grant Lake then up Yerba Buena Trail just to the gate where we cross Mt Hamilton road one last time to catch up to Hotel Trail again and back to our cars.
The hike is a total of 8 miles, has an elevation gain of 1000 feet and is rated a Level 3.
This is an early Spring hike so please wear plenty of layers. We will be out in the open and high up in the hills. We will be exposed to both wind and possible rain. A wool hat or something to keep your ears warm is probably a real good idea. Bring something water-resistant to sit on in case of 'April showers'. On the other hand, in case of a warming trend, sunscreen and cooler clothes might come in handy too. LAYER!
We most likely will come across grazing cattle. Please leave these animals to their business. Though they look domesticated, they can become quite agitated and aggressive if threatened or frightened. We may also come across European wild pigs. These animals have been crossbred with domestic pigs back in the day and are still seen wondering in packs. Again, it is a real good idea to let these creatures be as well. The male pigs are quite large and we've heard they run pretty fast. If you are chased by one, head for a tree, I don't think they can climb.
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