Hiking Stats as of 11/20/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet
Now halfway through my 2 week vacation, it was time for my 3rd hiking trip. Today's outing would be a visit to Loma Prieta with a side trip to Knibbs Knob. Both peaks are on the CC list, and would be my 22nd and 23rd summits on that list. Loma Prieta is most famously knows as the location of the massive 1989 Bay Area Earthquake that occurred during the Oakland/SF World Series, although among peakbaggers it is also well known as the highpoint of the Santa Cruz mountains.

To get to the trailhead I would have to drive south through San Jose before heading west to the Uvas Canyon Park. I wanted to avoid the morning commute traffic, so I decided I would give the dogs a nice 6 mile walk before setting off at about 10AM. My timing was great, as I zoomed over the Altamont and went south on 680 through San Jose with no issues. It was easy to pick out Loma Prieta in the distance as I exited the freeway, as it was the obvious highpoint in the western sky. I arrived at the Park to discover an automated pay station from which you are to purchase your parking permit. I paid the $6 fee and parked in the spacious parking lot. I had loaded the track for today's hike into my GPS, but for some reason I was nearly a quarter mile away from my starting point. And there was no obvious way how to get there - in the way was a steep (albeit not deep) channel where a seasonal stream flowed. I had no choice but to descend down through the creek and come up the other side, hopping a low wooded fence to find myself in another parking area. It looked that this area was for camping, and maybe the correct way to get the TH would have been to follow the signs for the camping rather than the day use that I followed when parking but no matter, from this side of the creek I easily found the TH and was ready to go.

The trek up to Knibbs Knob is quite steep, climbing about 1,500 feet in just over 1.5 miles. It provides nice views on the way up, but still, the uphill was pretty unrelenting. It took about an hour to hit the trail junction where a spur trail splits off and takes a more gentle approach up to the top of Knibbs Knob - really just a 10 minute side trip from the main objective of the day. I made the easy walk up and was unimpressed with the summit. Trees blocked the views in all directions, although by standing on the far side of the summit I did have a nice look at Loma Prieta. I wasn't sure that I was on the actual high point, as it looked like the ground was a few feet higher in the dense trees ahead. I made my way over to that location so as to properly claim the summit and found a summit register hidden under a log. The register dated back to 2001, a pretty remarkable length of time for a register so close to such a large population center. My entry was the first in over 4 months, and I suspect that the vast majority of visitors simply don't realize that there is a register hidden over here to sign, as the summit surely sees a lot more visitors than this. I left the summit and rejoined the main trail as it climbed up to the park boundary from where the brushy summit of Knibbs Knob was easy to pick out.

As I left the Uvas Canyon Park the nature of the hike changed completely. I was now on a road suitable for vehicles (although barely so in some sections) and the slope leveled out considerably. There were a few houses visible on the hillside, although more prevalent were fences with "No Trespassing" signs. From up here I had some distant views of the Pacific Ocean, something I had not expected, and even came across one house for sale with pretty nice views for only $649k. A couple of vehicles drove by while I was on this stretch, and friendly waves were exchanged which lessened my nerves about being up here.

Loma Preita was easily visible from here, as was the road winding its way up the hillside. The summit is quite large and flat, with multiple structures and antennae. It appeared that the higher points were further north (away from the service worker, who I never encountered on the summit) so I went over there to find the highest point. It appeared that a large rock contained within a barbed wire fence were the highest point, although their placement looked quite suspicious. I circled the entire fenced in section and found warnings about dangerous radiowaves, but could find no point at which to enter. With no way to enter and tag the rocks I settled on enjoying the spectacular views - out to the Pacific, back to Knibbs Knob, over to Mt. Umunhum, and northeast towards San Jose. I spent maybe 20 minutes on top before I started back down.

The descent was quite uneventful, as I quickly made my way down the road. On the way up I was usually facing Loma Prieta, but on descent I had awesome scenery the whole way down. The sun started getting low in the sky as I said goodbye to the ocean and re-entered the Uvas Canyon Park. I passed the junction of the Knibbs Knob Trail, and continued down the very steep final 1500 feet. Once I got to the bottom I had little desire to bushwhack through the creek again to get back to my car, so instead I walked around, looking for some road that would give me a nice bridge over the creek. I spent maybe 10 minutes looking for this elusive crossing, and unable to find anything, resigned myself to hopping the little fence again and taking the shortcut. I was back at my car a few minutes after 5, and although I hit a couple of patches of traffic on 680 north of Fremont, was still home by 6:45.

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