I had one more stop on my California road trip before I had to fly home. Los Gatos, in the Silicon Valley, to visit a college friend.
I had an easy drive in the Jeep Compass with my bicycle and luggage, from Chico to Los Gatos by way of the Rapha Cycle Club San Francisco.
I had a free afternoon before having to pack up my Ritchey BreakAway. My had friend mentioned the trail that runs through Los Gatos. A quick look at Google Maps showed me the quickest way from my hotel to the Los Gatos Creek Trail.
I rode down the slope from Maple Place and turned right on the gravel trail. I hadn’t expected gravel, but it would do.
The trail northward runs parallel to Highway 17, with Los Gatos Creek on one side and a large water pipeline on the other.
The sign warned of a hill, but it didn’t alert me to just how steep the hill was. I had to strike a fine balance between keeping enough weight on the rear wheel so that it maintained some grip on the gravelly trail, while at the same time not unweighting the front wheel so much that it lifted off the trail.
At the top of that short steep climb the gravel gave way to pavement. One more longer and only slightly less steep climb brought me onto Alma Bridge Road, which encirles the Lexington reservoir.
At the time I didn’t know that Alma Bridge Road ran around the reservoir. So at the 13km / 8mi point of my ride I took a photograph of the reservoir, and turned around.
I kept going south past where I had joined the trail at the start of my ride. Not far from that point the trail changed from gravel to paved. That is how it stayed all the way to where I left the trail in San Jose.
The Los Gatos Creek Trail passes through a number of parks, including Oak Meadow, Vasona Lake County, Los Gatos Creek and Campbell. There is a miniature train operating at Vasona.
Some of these parks contain lakes.
There are also a number of bridges crossing Los Gatos Creek.
I should have crossed one of those bridges to stay on the trail in the Willow Glen neighbourhood in San Jose Instead I found myself on Willow Street, which I followed for about 4km / 2.5mi before I turned around and retraced my route.
Later on I found out that there are two sections to the Los Gatos Creek Trail. There is the Campbell section, which I rode end to end, and the shorter San Jose section. The two sections are separated by about 4km / 2.5mi.
I ended my ride back in Los Gatos with a latte and some banana bread at Great Bear Coffee. My bike was leaning against this tree as I sat inside.
On balance I preferred the American River Bike Trail because it wasn’t as busy. Where the Los Gatos Creek Trail passses through parks it gets crowded with pedestrians and other traffic. But I would ride the Los Gatos trail again. Including the San Jose section into downtown San Jose.