In addition to its reputation for innovation and emerging technology, Silicon Valley’s natural beauty is also a major draw for residents and visitors, with numerous hiking trails throughout the valley. With mild weather year-round, most hiking trails remain open throughout the year and change with the seasons. Here are a few of our favorites.

Los Gatos Creek Trail
1250 Dell Ave, Campbell
Los Gatos Creek Trail is a 9.7 mile paved, dog-friendly trail great walking, biking, skating or running.  It runs through Santa Clara County and has several access points throughout Los Gatos, from East Main Street at College Avenue to Vasona County Park. There is plenty of parking, playgrounds, bathrooms, a dog park and picnic areas along the trail. The trail is open from 7am to sunset. Parking at Oak Meadow Park is $6 for non-residents. Other parking lots along the trail are free.

Castle Rock State Park
Castle Rock State Park is located along the Santa Cruz Mountains and has amazing views of the forest and waterfalls. It provides 32 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, including trails that are popular among experienced hikers and rock climbers. Many of the trails start and end with shade, but there are several exposed areas on the route. Campsites are available for backpackers who would like to stay overnight. There is no drinking water available on the trail and dogs and bikes are not allowed in the park. Admission to Castle Rock State Park is $8 for the day and $1 for seniors.

Santa Teresa County Park
260 Bernal Road, San Jose
Santa Teresa County Park offers many unpaved trails that are perfect for hikers and bikers. The park provides more than 18 miles of hiking and biking trails of various difficulty with views of Almaden Valley and Santa Clara Valley. During the spring, the wildflower views are at their peak, but each season offers a unique view for visitors with changing foliage. However, the trails do not offer much shade. Trails are open to bicyclists, except for the Ohlone Trail. There is a $6 vehicle fee and the park is open 8am to sunset.

Almaden Lake Park
San Jose
The Los Alamitos Creek Trail at Almaden Lake Park is ideal for people or families looking for a light jog, bike ride or walk. The flat, paved 3.9 mile trail makes for a quick and easy bike ride for those looking for a simple exercise. The trail surrounds Los Alamitos creek and is partially shaded. Along the trail, there are exercises stations, water fountains, benches and picnic tables. The trail is estimated to take no more than two hours.

Joseph D. Grant County Park
18405 Mount Hamilton Rd., San Jose
Joseph D. Grant County Park is the largest park in Santa Clara County Park district with 9,560 acres featuring great views, open dirt trails and fire roads. There are 52 miles of trails within the park along hillsides and valleys with various degrees of difficulty. With very little shade, the park is known to get very hot in the summer moths. Bikes are not allowed on about half of the trails. Dogs are welcomed as long as they are on a six-foot leash. It’s not uncommon to view wildlife in the park, including bobcats, turkeys and bats. There is a $5 entrance fee.

Coal Mine Ridge
Intersection of Alpine Rd and Willowbrook, Portola Valley
Coal Mine Ridge offers trails with a mix of tree-lined and open paths. Shade on the trails provides a great year-round option for hikers. A popular route is the Toyon Trail to the Old Spanish Trail for a four-mile hike.The trail goes through the woods and on a narrow path on the side of a hill. When hikers reach the highest point of the hike on the Spanish Trail, there is a bench to sit and enjoy the view of the Bay Area. The trails are for hikers only. There are no bikes allowed but dogs are welcomed.

Where are your favorite Bay Area hikes? Leave a comment with your suggestions.