The Sierra Azul Open Space Reserve is one of the largest preserves in the South Bay with 18,000 acres of mostly rugged and untamed terrain. For the mountain biker, this can be a blessing and a curse, especially when you're climbing up steep hills.
What Makes It Great
Sierra Azul offers a mix of single track and fire road trail options. At the high points, riders can see long vistas of the Santa Clara Valley. Most of the public access is from the Mt. Umunhum Area. The steep adrenaline-pumping descent on the Priest Rock Trail will challenge even expert riders.
While primarily a fire road, Limekiln Trail also has technical features to add some thrills and test your bike handling skills. The area is also prime bobcat and mountain lion territory, so don't head out at dusk, and having a riding buddy is always a good idea.
Who is Going to Love It
The singletrack options are good for bikers who love steep climbs, though riders of all abilities will enjoying venturing out on the network of roads and trails.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking is available at the Lexington Reservoir entrance to Sierra Azul, accessible from Highway 17. From southbound Highway 17, take the Bear Creek Road exit, cross over the highway, and go 0.4 miles north on Highway 17 to Alma Bridge Road. Proceed across the dam to the parking area (there is a parking fee) at Lexington Reservoir County Park.From the parking area, visitors can continue on Alma Bridge Road a short distance to the Limekiln Trail trailhead (gate #SA22), on the left side of the road. The Priest Rock Trail trailhead is a short distance further on the road (gate #SA21), also on the left side.