Figueroa to Serpentine Loop at Calero

An easy hike in Calero County Park just outside San Jose that can be turned into a more challenging trek.

6.7 miles; easy to moderate

If you’re searching for a trip that’s easy on the eyes and legs, Figueroa Trail has you covered. This shady, gradually ascending trail is more of a stroll than a trek, with an option to up the ante by adding on the more vigorous Serpentine Loop.

Starting from the access trails that lead from the main entrance parking lot (not the reservoir lot), keep left on the sunny, flat path as it parallels McKean Road. The pavement soon disappears as you steer into shady oak woodland and gradually up into the backcountry. Calero Creek (dry from drought at the time of this writing) parallels Figueroa for about a mile. Keep an eye out for bounding deer and Coast Range fence lizards as they leap from rock to branch to soak up those precious rays of sunshine.

Figueroa itself is short (about 2 miles) and sweet. You can turn right at the intersection with Pena Trail for the 1.5-mile stroll back to the parking lot. Or, if Figueroa's brevity leaves you wanting, continue on for the Serpentine Loop: a steep ascent out of the oaks and into the sunshine. On one half of the loop, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of southern Santa Clara County and Cherry Cove, the thinnest stretch of the parks large reservoir. On the other half, a serene pond awaits at the bottom of a short descent. Enjoy the shaded deck and the pond’s resident birds– it’s the perfect spot for a mid-hike rest and snack. You’ll certainly need the rest, as many sections of this loop’s trails climb high and in full sun exposure.

Continue through the Serpentine Loop to reconnect to Figueroa and return the way you came. The combination of these two paths is ideal for trail runners who want a challenging course that begins and ends in the shade of quiet, calming oaks.

—Brendan Bane

Back to the Calero County Park page