Easy to Intermediate. Steep. Some new riders may consider this trail Hard because of the steepness. It is relatively short. There are multiple trails up the hill. Mostly fireroads with some hidden singletrack. Nice views from the top. Can be crowded in the summer evenings and weekends.
Take State Highway 17 to Los Gatos. Park downtown or near Los Gatos High School. Take Main Street to College Ave (@ Penthouse Apts), turn on College up the hill to the right, turn right on Jones. Follow Jones to the trailhead.
Summary: Pros, you can make the best out of this trail with repeated loops. One loop is 1200', Jones trail alone is 980' of climbing. Local ride without the parking and it has a nice view when you get to the top.
Cons, way too many people that don't pay any attention to bike traffic. Weekend ride would be for the family. Weekday ride for excercise " before 3pm". Walking traffic has the "right of way" but, they seem to push it. Strollers double wide, taking the whole trail space, loose dogs walking around and dog crap, toddlers wondering loose, groups chatting it up blind to others. At least the gease knows to move when they are on the wrong side of the paved trail.
Overall, its a hour ride with a great workout. Beats gym memebership and nice to have close to home. 1 hour vs 2-3-4 driving to other trails.
Recommended Route: I come from Campbell, ride down the LGCT, Lexington Dam, up Jones from the reservoir. Left up to the top to St Josephs Hill. This route has a couple of climbs that can whip you in shape. The overall ride is a slight climd in itsself. Then it has Vasona Dam, "short and loose" short steep climb, then the Dams climb, over to Jones climb, Novitiate Trail climb, then to the top. Than all back down, either follow the was you came or do a loop down thenfront side of Jones to Main St, back home. I make loops out of this path, helped me condition for bigger rides, plus itsmright out of my front door.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Kennedy, Saratoga Gap, Quicksilver, Mission Peak, Santa Teresa Park, Demo " great place to get your hair standing up"
Review Date June 24, 2012
Overall Rating 1 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 4 of 5
Technical Difficulty 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a week
Reviewed by: Matt Simkins
Cross Country Rider
Summary: Great trail for a workout, nice views. I have been riding this trail for 25 years. However, the open space preserve has hired way too many rangers and that has ruined the trails. I got a $400 ticket for riding 19 mph on a fire road down hill in the middle of nowhere.
They literally have rangers posted up with radar guns hidden behind bushes, I am not kidding here!
Recommended Route: Don't ride any open space district trails. They all have a 15 mph speed limit and a 5 mph limit if you ride past a hiker. The trails are crawling with rangers.
Cut the State Park Funding and leave the parks open!!!!!!!
Other recommended trails in the same area: Nothing in Open Space "Preserve"
Summary: This is a trail for those who want instant gratification; it is a little over a mile long and 600-ft. climb from bottom to top. The trail is primarily wide fire road... not particularly interesting or difficult to climb. I liken the broken asphalt fire road at the beginning of the trail to a stairmaster because I think it is excruciating. Chug your way up it and the other connecting trails to reach the top. On the way Serpentine Trail provides some amusement. At the peak you get a great view of the vicinity.
Recommended Route: From Alma Bridge Rd. on top of Lexington Reservoir take Jones Trail up to Manzanita Trail. Fork over to the slice of singletrack known as Serpentine Trail and then back to Manzanita Trail on your way to the peak.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Priest Rock Trail and Limekiln Trail.
Summary: Decent mtn. bike ride if you live nearby and ride to the trailhead. I see riders parking on Jones road. This makes me laugh, why bother?. Of course, the "mtn bikers" that park close to the St. Joes are the same ones that get EXTREMELY dressed-up, all pretty in their tight mono-suits...HA HA HA HA!
O.K. all joking aside: Ride to the trailhead from home, climb St. Joe's in your middle chain ring and ride HARD, ride back home. Better than a spin class for those of us that have to work for a living, not like all the trust-a-farians in L.G. hanging out at the coffee-roasting place 24/7....
Recommended Route: 1. Ride Los Gatos creek trail to top of damn, up through gate to hilltop vista sign, climb serpentine trail to top. Ride back down.
2. Avoid the idiots walking on the Los Gatos creek trail: Ride up Jones, basically, do the ride in reverse. When you come to Manzanita trail, go right (you're climbing it in a counter-clockwise direction) climb serpintine trail, go to the top, back down and out the same way you came up. You will avoid all the foot traffic and people chatting, the team in training IDIOTS who think they own the trail- get the picture?
Other recommended trails in the same area: Woods, Kennedy, Overgrown, El Sereno, et al.
Summary: This trail/area involves climbing up to the top of St. Joseph's, a hilltop that offers a very good view of the South Bay Area. On a clear day (rare), you'll be able to see the tallest buildings in San Francisco, outlined in the distance.
There is not much in the way of technical challenges here: it's mostly about climbing fire roads, and avoiding head-on collisions with others who are going too fast downhill. Riders should note: it's very common for Radar-wielding Rangers to loiter at the bottom of certain hills; they don't like it when bikers go too fast. And that makes sense, because this area is frequented by families, strollers, retired folks and kids. In short: this isn't the place to cut loose and satisfy your need for speed. In fact, it's sort of like the opposite of that.
On the other hand, here's what this place is about: St. Joseph's allows a pretty good uphill workout, where you'll get sustained, consistent climbing action that helps you build your legs, while looking at some nice scenery. Riders should note this area attaches to some other locally-grown rides that are not so forgiving and easy-going (Dogmeat, etc.) So, if you all about brutal climbs and really, deeply-scary downhill action, then point your bike over there (look under "Los Gatos").
Back to St. Joseph's: This is not an all-day-at-the-park kind of experience. You'll find that the climb (from bottom to top) takes about thirty minutes, roughly). I ride this trail quite a bit because I live in Los Gatos, and like to climb that hill after a hard day at the office. After climbing, I typically ride back down halfway, and turn toward Lexington Dam, where there are a couple of steep little sections facing downhill. The Los Gatos Creek Trail takes the rider back to downtown Los Gatos, or Vasona Park (if you stay on the path).
Recommended Route: Start in downtown Los Gatos, at the Penthouse Apartment building: go uphill, take a right, and another right; you'll come to a gate, where the trailhead begins. Stay to the fire road on the left, as the trail that veers to the right is for pedestrians only; and the one that heads off to the meadow (far right) is going to the Los Gatos Creek Trail.
Keep climbing; take a left when you come to a fork in the trail; take another left at the next fork. There is a short, steep section that can be brutally hot on summer days.
Take a right upon reaching the next fork; the trail begins to flatten out. You'll see a semi-hidden single-track called "Serpentine" off on the left side, after just a few minutes. Keep your eyes open for this one. It's fun, but best done when there aren't a lot of other riders around, cause there are potential traffic jams on this.
Whether you take Serpentine or not, you'll end up at the top. Not much chance of getting lost around here. Enjoy the view.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Wilder Ranch: Santa Cruz