#PixinParks Upper Stevens Creek

The Park

South Grizzly Flat Trail overlook
Image: South Grizzly Flat Trail overlook ©Brandy Maldonado

The Upper Stevens Creek County park is over 1,000 acres located in the Santa Cruz mountains. This park has 12.6 miles of trails that are available to hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and those who just love the great outdoors! This densely wooded park has a variety of redwoods, douglass fir and other Santa Cruz native plants. To discover more about Santa Cruz forests check out these materials found at your local San Jose Public library:

Native Ferns Moss & GrassesGiants in the EarthThe Wild Trees

The Hike

North Grizzly Flat Trail, accompanied by wild turkey.
Image: North Grizzly Flat Trail, accompanied by wild turkey. ©Brandy Maldonado

This trail is not open to bikers, equestrian or dogs but is open to people! The Pix in Parks map rates this hike as moderate and out of the five I have completed I would say that it is tougher than the others (so far). The map for the challenge states that the this trail is open to bikers and equestrians but a sign just before the trail states otherwise, bike at your own risk! This hike has all the lush of the Santa Cruz forests, wild ferns, wildflowers and buzzing bugs!

The trail climbs elevation fast, remember to go at your own pace and enjoy the greenery of the forest! I suggest taking a buddy on this trail as it is a bit isolated and it is fun exploring with a friend! My hiking buddy and I started this hike in the early morning to beat the warm hours of midday. The further we went along on the trail the more wild turkey we could hear. As we called to the turkey many began to join us for our trek, making for a hilarious adventure. Don't forget to practice your turkey call for this hike!

The History

Portrait of Elisha Stevens
Image: Portrait of Elisha Stevens. Collection of History San Jose, History San Jose Photographic Collection.

Stevens Creek was given the name Arroyo San Joseph de Cupertino by the Spanish explorer, Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. In his travel diary, de Anza discusses resting at the creek with fellow explorers, including Padre Pedro Font. The creek was renamed Cupertino creek in 1866.

South Carolina native, Elijah Stephens (also known as Elisha Stevens) settled along Cupertino Creek near Black Mountain in 1848. Stephens is known as the leader of the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy party, the first wagon caravan to pass the Sierra Nevada (two years before the ill-fated Donner party). Stephens owned more that 150 acres of land near the creek and called it Blackberry Farm.

#PixinParks Challenge

For more information on the Pix in Parks challenge check out the Santa Clara County Parks Department website or take a look at my blog post on the San Jose Public Library website describing the challenge.

Further Reading

Not Just TreesWild TurkeysSierra Nevada Tree Identifier

Further Reading in the California Room

The Donner Party ChroniclesThe Sierra Nevada Before HistoryGeology of the Sierra Nevada

Special thanks to our friends at the Santa Clara County Parks Department for making this hike available to Santa Clara County residents.

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