Saturday, August 6, 2016

Coyote Creek Parkway

Trail rating – Easy to moderate
Trail length – 15.5 miles
Trail type – Linear
Trail uses – Hiking, jogging, bicycles, and wheelchairs
Elevation change – Some parts of the trail have an 8% grade
Typical grade – Paved             
Cellular Service Signal Strength – Good

Accessible Parking and Restrooms:
       Anderson Lake Visitor Center -  Malaguerra Ave, Morgan Hill
       Silver Creek Valley Rd, near Piercy Rd., San Jose
       Hellyer County Park, San Jose

Dirt parking lots with limited parking and no restrooms:
       Barnhart Ave, off of Old Monterey Rd
       Monterey Hwy and Metcalf Rd

The newly-repaved Coyote Creek Parkway is never too far from the Coyote Creek. In some places it’s just a few feet away while, at a few other areas, the parkway crosses over the creek.  One of the things I enjoy most about the 15-mile parkway was the different types of landscapes you to hike through.  At the start of the parkway you’ll hike past vast, open meadows that reach out to the mountains in the far background.  At many sections of the parkway you'll past through corridors of trees that offer comforting shade, which is very welcome during the summer months. Other sections past by businesses, and under Highway 101.

Another thing I liked seeing is how parts of the Coyote Creek Parkway passes by neighborhoods, giving easy access to the parkway for to those communities.  There are rest areas with picnic tables along the way, though most of these are within the first five miles from the start of the Coyote Creek Parkway at Anderson Lake Visitor Center. At the last couple miles, however, you arrive at Hellyer County Park, and it has several areas that offer picnic tables and shade.

Most of the parkway doesn’t have water stations, so be sure bring water with you.  I enjoyed all of the 15.5 miles and would recommend starting at either the Anderson Lake Visitor Center or Hellyer County Park first, as they both offer picnic tables, available accessible parking and restrooms.


 To see more of Coyote Creek Parkway please watch my video:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Hellyer County Park

Trail rating - Easy
Trail length - Over 2.5 miles (includes part of the Coyote Creek Trail) within the park boundaries
Trail type - Loop and linear
Trail uses - Hiking, bicycles, strollers, and wheelchairs
Cumulative elevation change - Less than 6% at one part of the Coyote Creek Trail
Trail surface - Paved
Cellular Service Signal Strength - Good
Pets allowed - Yes

I really enjoyed visiting Hellyer County Park for it has a lot to offer for recreation.  A paved path circles Cottonwood Lake, giving you an generous view of geese ducks, and other aquatic birds. There are plenty of picnic tables and barbecue pits located throughout the park, a few spacious grassy areas, and a playground.  Shade isn't a problem as there is an amble amount of trees to
keep you cool during the summer months.  For those that enjoy a long hike, part of the Coyote Creek Trail runs along the western side of the park and it connects from the southern part of the park and up to the northern part.

One of the things that surprised me when I first visited the park was seeing the Hellyer County Park Velodrome.  I was fortunate to be there one day to watch several cyclist racing around the track.  Besides having Wednesday Night races there, they also offer beginner sessions.
Using a power wheelchair I couldn't help but picture myself racing around the track.

There are a few group picnic areas and are available by reservation. Parking areas are located in all the areas of the park and I saw plenty of accessible parking spots. The restrooms and picnic tables are also wheelchair accessible.


To see more of Hellyer County Park, please watch my video:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sunnyvale Baylands Park


Trail rating - Easy
Trail length – Over a mile within the park boundaries
Trail type – Loop and linear
Trail uses - Hiking, bicycles, strollers, and wheelchairs
Cumulative elevation change - Less than 2% for most of the trails
                                                       Wave Walk trail has 8% grade hills
Trail width and surface - Dirt
Cellular Service Signal Strength - Good
Pets allowed:  No

Sunnyvale Baylands Park fits just about everyone’s search for fun and relaxation. There is more than a mile in trails, and the park is also connected to the Bay Trail.  There are playgrounds, a huge grassy area for sports, flying a kite, and sometimes people will fly their model planes. At the back of the park is a seasonal marshland where you can enjoy looking for birds from a viewing platform.  The park has several areas with BBQ pits and picnic tables. Most of the dirt trails are flat, but the Wave Walk has 8% grade hills, but there is a flat dirt trail that goes along next to it.  The park has accessible restrooms and parking.  


                     To see more of Sunnyvale Baylands, please watch my video: 
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Joseph D. Grant County Park




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Joseph D. Grant County Park is the largest Santa Clara County regional park and has 52 miles of trails. The park is nestled in the Diablo Range foothills and you take the Mt. Hamilton Road to get to it.

The park has a short paved whole access trail that is very scenic. There is also a longer paved trail nearby that has a meadow on one side and a picnic area on the other.

For those wanting to hike an intermediate level trail, you have the Bernal Trail and the Hotel Trail.

You access the Bernal Trail from a small parking lot just beyond where you turn into the main park area, and it has one accesssible parking spot.  The beginning of the 0.4 mile trail has around a 7% slope, but after that it’s pretty flat.  The trail itself is a mixture of dirt and rocks.  I really like this trail because it gives you a beautiful view of Grant Lake.

The Hotel Trail is near the whole access trail. There is a 7% slope getting to the trail but after that, the trail is fairly flat.  The 3.4 mile trail is mostly made up of hard packed dirt, which during the summer the trail can become very dusty. So much so, that one time I had to turn back - dust isn't good for ventilators.  But, I've gone in the spring and fall and there was less amount of dust in the air during those times. I really enjoyed wheelchair hiking this trail because of the panoramic beauty of the rolling hills.  Plus, there aren't that many wheelchair accessible trails that are this long.

There are several handicap parking spots in the main park area, accessible bathrooms, and some of the picnic tables are somewhat wheelchair accessible

To see more of Joseph D. Grant County Park, 
please watch my video.



Monday, November 9, 2015

Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve



Just the drive to Rancho Canada del Oro makes it worthwhile to visit this Open Space Preserve.  Minutes after leaving the freeway you're passing farms and horse ranches, as rolling hills begin to encompass your surroundings. 

Rancho Canada del Oro has a short, but enjoyable All Access trail.  One of the first things you’ll notice upon arriving is how quiet and peaceful it is.  During several of my visits, I've several species of birds and deer.  My sister saw a fox, but the sound of my power chair chased it away before I was able to see it and take a photo of it.

There are two wheelchair accessible picnic tables, accessible parking, and an accessible restroom.

If you’re looking to get out of the city and enjoy the tranquility of the country side, Rancho Canada del Oro is a perfect place to unwind at and enjoy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ed Levin County Park


One of the things that makes Ed Levin County Park special is that it’s located in the foothills above Milpitas.  Just a short drive from Interstate 680, you’re given the choice of two park areas – Sandy Wool Lake and Spring Valley Pond.

The Sandy Wool Lake area offers fishing, a popular dog park, and if you time it right, you can watch hang gliders soar over the hills.  The Spring Valley Pond area is smaller, but just as inviting.  The pond gives you an up-close look at various bird species and turtles that like to sunbathe on half-submerged tree branches.  Both park areas have accessible parking, restrooms, and picnic tables.  Cell phone service isn’t reliable.

Ed Levin is an ideal place to get away from the city and enjoy having a picnic in a quiet and scenic park setting.
 
To watch a slideshow of my wheelchair adventure, please click on the video below.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Alviso Marina County Park



Trail rating - Easy
Trail length - The Alviso Slough Trail is a 9 miles loop
Trail uses - Hiking, bicycles, and wheelchairs
Cumulative elevation change - Less than 4%
Typical grade, cross slope - Flat, none
Trail width and surface - 8 feet, dirt
Cellular Service Signal Strength - Good within the park area.

Alviso Marina is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the scenic views of the wetlands, salt ponds, and the panoramic view of the mountains in the far distant. I was surprised on how quiet and serene it was, being only a few minutes from the city.  For those up for the challenge the Alviso Slough Trail makes a 9 mile loop.  There isn’t any shade on the trail and it can be windy at times so come prepared.

The viewing platforms and boardwalk give you the opportunity to see various types of birds, making it a very popular place for bird watching. There is also a boat launch ramp where both non-motorized and motorized boats have access to the San Francisco Bay.

The park has accessible restrooms and picnic table, two handicap parking spots, and one handicap parking spot at the boat launch parking area.
Dogs are allowed only in the picnic areas and pathways but not on the trails.

To watch a slideshow of my wheelchair adventure, please click on the video below.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve


Trail(s) rating:  Easy
Trail length:  1 mile to Deer Hollow Farm.
                     The Deer Meadow Trail is .4 miles (it’s a side trail)
Trail Surface:  Dirt, Paved
Trail usage:  Hikers, bicyclists, dogs, wheelchairs, occasional vehicle on service road.

I’ve been hiking at Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve for several years and one of the reasons is because it’s an easy and scenic hike for wheelchairs.

The first trail you take is the Permanente Creek Trail. This is a wide, flat  dirt trail and it has a panoramic view of the hills just beyond the meadow.  You’ll soon come to a junction. Here you can cross a service road and continue onto the Lower Meadow Trail (you can also use the service road that runs along side of it), or you can go right and hike the short Deer Meadow Trail which leads to another service road you can take back to that junction.

The Lower Meadow Trail will bring you back to the main service road. This road will take you to Deer Hollow Farm but you can also continue on the more narrow Lower Meadow trail.  I prefer the service road as it is easier for wheelchairs.

After you cross the bridge the trail has a short, semi steep hill to go up before getting to the farm. At the 160 year-old historic farm you’ll see cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, a garden, and a nature center. General admission is free.

The restrooms in the lower parking area are accessible and there are 5 handicap parking spots. The two upper parking areas each have two handicap parking spots but, there is a steep pathway going down to the lower section so it could be a difficult climb back up in a manual wheelchair.

Rancho San Antonio is very popular and because of that it’s very crowded on the weekends so parking can be an issue.   Afternoons and weekdays are the best time to visit if you don’t want to deal with lots of people on the trail.


Note: The service road is mainly for bicyclists, wheelchairs, and service vehicles. Pedestrians should use the Lower Meadow Trail.


To see a slideshow of my wheelchair adventure, please watch my video:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch Park - Martin Murphy Trail

Trail length:  2.4 miles
Trail type: Paved
Trail ratings: Easy
Trail usage: Hikers, bicycles, horses, dogs, and wheelchairs

I haven’t wheelchair-hiked too many paved-loop trails and the few that I have hiked have been very short. This is why I am so impressed with the 2.4 mile Martin Murphy Trail at Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch Park. The first time I visited this park was when the rolling hills and meadows were painted in a mixture of green grass and spring wild flowers.  I found myself constantly stopping on the trail to admire and appreciate the beauty that presented itself.  Various species of birds will keep you company as you make your way around the trail loop.  At the end of the trail you can enjoy wheeling up to one of the accessible picnic tables which now have new shade structures. 

There isn’t much shade on the trail so best time to visit is during the morning or late afternoon. There are rest areas and a water fountain located on the trail.   The park has one handicap parking spot and a porta potty that is wheelchair accessible.

Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch Park is located in San Martin (Gilroy).  From Hwy 101, take the San Martin Ave exit. Go east on San Martin Ave for about 1.5 miles.  The entrance to the park is on the left.

To watch a slideshow of the Martin Murphy Trail, please watch my video



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vasona Lake County Park

Trail length: Over two miles. Also connects to the 9.5 mile Los Gatos Creek Trail
Trail type: Paved
Trail ratings: Easy
Trail usage: Hikers, bicyclist, dogs, and wheelchairs

One of my favorite places where I can stretch my legs, so to speak, is at Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos. Within the park, you have over two miles of paved trails to enjoy. A couple of them offer you a panoramic view of Vasona Lake, while others let you wheel along under a canopy of trees, which is great during the summer's warm weather. There are a couple of places where you can sit and relax by a creek that runs through a section of the park.  Vasona trails system also connects to the Los Gatos Creek trail which is a scenic 9.5 mile trail.

You can rent pedal boats, kayaks, and sailboats from Spring to Fall. For children, there is the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad, which has a 1/3 scale locomotive for the kids to ride on. The park is also a great place for bird watching.

Vasona has handicap parking and accessible restrooms located in different areas of the park. It does get crowded during the weekend, especially during the summer.  I found the best time to visit is early morning. 

Happy Wheeling!




To see my wheelchair adventure at Vasona, please watch my video.