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Cycling From San Jose to Anderson Dam Along the Coyote Creek Trail

After moving to San Jose from the Santa Cruz area I started hiking the local trails. It wasn’t long before I discovered the Coyote Creek Trail, which I started hiking and cycling frequently. While looking at the trail maps I noticed the trail was continuous from the Tully Ballfields all the way to the Coyote Creek Visitor Center in Morgan Hill, not too far from Anderson Dam.

In January 2020 I hopped on my 90s vintage bike and rode the Coyote Creek Trail from San Jose to Anderson Dam. From the city streets I connected to the Coyote Creek Trail at Singleton Road and proceeded south. Shortly after passing the picnic areas at the north end of Hellyer County Park, I passed the Hellyer County Park Velodrome, which hosted the US Olympic cycling trials in 1972.

Cottonwood Lake at Hellyer County Park

I passed the spot where I saw a hawk swoop down and just miss a California ground squirrel as it dodged into its burrow. Farther down the trail was Cottonwood Lake and beyond that was the disc golf course. Along the trail further south were a series of parks, starting with Shady Oaks Park, good places to top up your water bottle.

Shady Oaks Park and Odette Morrow Trail

The trail along the Coyote Creek Parkway was mostly flat, occasionally dipping down toward the creek where signs warned not to proceed when the water was high. Where the trail hugged the creek there was plenty of tree cover. Where the trail veered from the creek there were golden grasses punctuated by coyote brush and the occasional oak, sycamore, or eucalyptus. I passed a series of ponds, the model aircraft park, and an old walnut orchard before arriving at the Coyote Creek Visitor Center. I then followed the streets along the trail until reaching Anderson Dam.

The trip to the dam took about 2 hours with frequent stops to enjoy the scenery along the creek. On the return trip to San Jose I spotted a Blue Heron just off the trail. Further down out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a plastic bag stuck on a dead tree branch hanging over the creek. When I turned to get a better look I realized it was a kingfisher as it took off.

Great Blue Heron seen from the Coyote Creek Trail

As I pedaled home against a headwind I thought about what I would do differently the next time I took this trip: start earlier in the morning, bring a decent camera and binoculars, and take more time to enjoy the scenery and wildlife along the trail.

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