Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Black Mountain

I knew what I was getting into when I went to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. I knew there would be sun, and I was prepared. I wanted to go up Black Mountain, and read that this is an easier back trail which was about 6 miles (I hit just over 6) so I was up for it. It was a nice morning, and the park was easy to find. And lots of parking!

The trail in 60 hikes was closed (they are moving the trailhead) so I wandered to the other side of the parking lot. Not a big deal, everything in this park is really well marked so even if I had to backtrack it wasn’t a huge deal. So out I went, into the full sun. There was a tease in the middle with a bit of shade and then back to a steady incline.

It was super pretty. And not very hot since it was only around 70 degrees. But it was sunny. It took about 3 miles to get up to the lookout on Black Mountain. Since I took more of a back way up the mountain, it was pretty quiet. Honestly, I was really damn proud of my hike and time this day. I hiked something with “mountain” in the name! And was in full sun! And didn’t die! Go me! It was just a great exercise day.

I was surprised at how dry everything was. Oh California summers. I didn’t stop much at the summit since there were a lot of people around. It seems that they all came up the other way with a large percentage of them being cyclists. I went down that way and it lead into more shaded areas and downhill gravel. Yeah, downhill and gravel, my nemesis.

Ow. Yeah. I didn’t have a tragic Cardiac Hill tumble, but I did slide a few times. Landing on my ass lightly once. Fucking gravel. This was a double track trail that was pretty populated. Hey, at least I found out where everyone was coming from! And there was no worry of tumbling off a cliff, which obviously is a bonus for me. But the last 2 miles were really nice and shaded. It was a great way to cool off after all that time in the sun. Near the end I got to clean off my shoes in Stevens Creek! Then up and out to my car and off to start my day.

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About The Author


I'm Shannon and I love to bake, hike, play video games and have fun. I currently live in the Bay Area with my husband and cat.

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