It is a challenge for all park agencies to balance recreational use with resource protection. In order to meet that challenge, Santa Clara County Parks embarked on an evaluation of all of its trail systems within its 28 parks, and recommends specific limitations of use during wet and sensitive times of the year. Most restrictions are based on winter use of trails, as this type of use will lead to trail erosion, the creation of unwanted trails and wildlife habitat impacts. Other closures are based on impacts to threatened or endangered species or new trail construction. The evaluation process also recognized the many trails that will remain open year-round for specific recreational uses. Find here
a list of park trails open year-round and those with limited access.
There are three forms of limited trail access the department will be implementing this year:
- Temporary Closure: Due to wet conditions, certain trails will be closed temporarily to equestrian and mountain bike use. The trails will be evaluated daily, so they can be reopened as soon as possible.
- Seasonal Closures: Defined as a trail closure to all user types (including pedestrians) and usually of a longer duration, for a set period of time, and reoccurring, due to geographic location, topographical features and soil types (e.g., trails that remain wet for a long period of time because they are under a tree canopy). Seasonal Closures are based on safe trail access balanced with resource protection.
- Construction Closures: Following initial construction of new County Park trails, the newly constructed trail(s) will be closed for the first winter after construction until June 1st. The trail system is closed for this extended period to allow the trail to settle, compact and accumulate vegetation (new growth and accumulation of duff). Closing new trails for the first winter after construction is a smart management practice designed to provide a better and more stable trail system in the long-term and to meet our obligations to protect water quality and wildlife habitat.
Park staff will evaluate closed trails daily, so they can be reopened as quickly as possible.
If you're heading out for a hike, we recommend you call ahead for current trail conditions, especially during the winter months when trail closures are more widespread. For the most up to date information regarding trail closures, call the Santa Clara County Park Trails Information Line at (408)-355-2200, and press 7 for current trail conditions and closures.