Los Gatos Creek Trail

Los Gatos Creek Trail, California

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73875056

Los Gatos Creek Trail Description

For more than a few minutes, it is hard to ride through suburban Santa Clara County without finding an abundance of cyclists and runners in the city. If you’re walking to downtown Los Gatos, chances are the biker is heading for the Los Gatos Creek Trail whizzing past you. This trail sees a small amount of traffic during the week, but it bustles with activity on weekends. You’ll see everyone out enjoying this route on Saturdays and Sundays, from 20-somethings holding their morning lattes to enthusiastic cyclists and families walking their dogs.

The Los Gatos Creek Trail stretches 11.2 miles and travels between San Jose and Lexington Reservoir through several towns. The San Jose stretch is 1.9 miles, while the Campbell stretch is 9.3 miles. A former South Pacific Coast Railroad line follows the southern section, which carried passengers in the late 1800s from Santa Cruz to Alameda. The trail is unpaved dirt and gravel for the first 1.5 miles to the landmark Forbes Mill Museum, an 1854 flour mill and annex that shows Los Gatos area memorabilia, beginning at the southern end of the Lenihan Dam on Lexington Reservoir. There, you can find a water fountain, but no toilets.

Los Gatos Creek is shrouded in riparian undergrowth, and it is lovely to have a sparkling creek. As it goes northward, the trail has a slight incline and has a short but steep climb of 1.3 miles. The surface is a little rough here, and without dismounting, only seasoned cyclists will be able to climb it.

The asphalt surface starts at Main Street in Los Gatos, and the trail leaves the rail bed to follow the creek line. From this point, the trail passes through a series of parks, each with restrooms and parking, including Oak Meadow, Vasona Lake County, Los Gatos Creek and Campbell. There are trails on either side of the creek as well as loops around the wetlands, beginning at Los Gatos Creek Park. However, the main trail remains on the west bank until the crossing at Campbell Park.

Currently, the Los Gatos Trail’s southern section ends at Meridian Avenue in San Jose. It picks up farther downstream at Lonus again (the 1.9-mile northern section) and continues to West San Carlos Lane, passing under I-280. By leaving the trail just past Leigh on Willow Street (with bike lanes), cyclists can link the parts. Then, turn to Glen Eyrie on the left, Lincoln on the left, Lonus on the right.

The City of San Jose is working to link the trail to downtown San Jose’s Guadalupe River Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

In several places, the trail is accessible by transportation and parking is also available at the parks along the creek.

From State Route 17, exit at East Los Gatos Avenue to reach the trailhead and turn right onto Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. Continue until it becomes East Main Street on this road. On Church Lane, turn right, which will take you straight into the parking lot of Forbes Mill. Next to the Forbes Mill Museum lies the signed trailhead. The paved trail goes north and goes south to the unpaved section.


This amazing historical landmark is just one of the many must-see landmarks you don’t want to miss in Campbell, California:

  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Los Gatos Creek County Park
  • Ainsley House 
  • John D. Morgan Park
  • Campbell Historical Museum
  • Campbell Park
  • Stojanovich Family Park  

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location located at 3880 South Bascom Avenue in San Jose, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!