Fremont Older offers scenic hiking

March 27, 2015 — by Megan MacInnes

Location: 739 acres of protected wilderness that’s open to horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking with dogs if they’re on a leash. There are two main entrances into Fremont Older, one from Prospect Road, and the other is through Garrod Farms (22647 Garrod Rd in the hills above Saratoga, just off of Mt. Eden Road. I would recommend taking the route through Garrod’s because it’s only a 10-minute drive from the high school. Also, note that Fremont Older is open every day but closes at sunset.

Trails: An easy trail to start on is taking Coyote Ridge up to Maisie’s Peak. It’s about a 30-45 minute hike and less than a mile depending on which entrance you use. There are minimal hills and a fantastic view at the peak where the entire Santa Clara Valley is visible. Beyond Maisie’s Peak are longer hikes. If you continuing on Coyote Ridge, the trail goes deeper into the hills and around dusk and dawn the preserve’s wildlife comes out, like deer, bobcats and bunnies. It’s a 3.5-mile hike, but once you reach a gate, you will have to go back the way you came because beyond it is private property. For more views of the valley, there’s the Seven Springs Loop Trial, which is about a 3-mile loop from Propect Road that takes about two and a half hours.

Best times to go: In the hotter seasons, morning and dusk are the best because it’s not blistering hot and you can see wildlife. In the colder seasons late morning and midday are nice because there’s some sun. Horseback riders and bikers will be a lot more prevalent on weekends, riders are less likely to ride at dusk and bikers usually go in the mornings.

Getting around: For exploring purposes, most all of the trails are marked with signs and Google Maps has directions but coverage can be a bit spotty.

Review: Announce your presence to horseback riders so you won’t spook their horses. This is especially important on if you’re biking or jogging since those can easily startle horses. Watch out for ticks and burrs if you bring your dog along. Also, bring poop bags since there are none provided on the trials.