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Old 11-23-11, 06:07 PM   #1
AndreyT
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Los Gatos Creek Trail after dark

Would anyone please tell me what is the accessibility and/or "ride-ability" the Los Gatos Creek Trail after dark? I'm using the trail to commute between Los Gatos (Roberts Road access point) through Vasona Park to Campbell (either San Tomas or Hamilton access point) during the daylight time. I wonder if its in any way useful for the ride back from Campbell to Los Gatos at night.

Someone told me that the trail gets blocked after dark to prevent access to Vasona Park, so I assume it won't be possible to ride my entire route at night. However, it would be nice to know if any other parts of the trail are still open/usable at that time, assuming, of course, I have adequate lighting equipment on my bike.

Is it possible (and legal) to enter the trail from Hamilton (that staircase that leads down from the street to the trail)? What about San Tomas access point? If so, then how far should I be able to stay on the trail riding towards Los Gatos before I run into any closed gates? Will I be able to reach Lark access point?

Another matter is whether it is actually safe to ride LGCT after dark... Is anybody actually using it for biking at later hours?

Thanks in advance for any information.

Last edited by AndreyT; 11-23-11 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 11-26-11, 02:00 PM   #2
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I've been on it lately between 9 & 10:30, and it was OK to use. Dark! Bring lots of light. Watch for walkers & skunks.
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Old 11-26-11, 02:38 PM   #3
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I've been on it lately between 9 & 10:30, and it was OK to use. Dark! Bring lots of light. Watch for walkers & skunks.
OK, I'll try it. Thanks. BTW, do you by any chance know about the Vasona Park segment?
Does it get blocked off at night? And if so, where exactly are the gates located?
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Old 11-28-11, 02:09 PM   #4
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I've been using the trail for the passed 4 years. It is just fine at night; I don't know of any sections that get closed off, but the park itself will be closed.

The latest I've ridden on it was ~2AM. I also walk my dog on it, run on it, and walk to Pruneyard at various hours of the evening/night. Never had any issues. But, yes, you do need a good flashlight and there are tons of skunks.

To get on the "Vasona segment" you can either enter from Lark Ave., right next to the "dam" or you'll have to enter through the Vasona park. They do close the gates to the park, which are located on Blossom Hill Rd and University Ave.

Last edited by ilushka; 11-28-11 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 11-29-11, 01:05 AM   #5
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I actually rode from Campbell to Los Gatos last Saturday. It wasn't entirely dark, but the sun has already set. There were quite a few people still on the trail and some bikers as well. I passed the Lark exit, hoping that the park is still open. However, I quickly discovered that the gates at the dam were closed, but the pedestrian "door" was still open (some people were leaving the park). I didn't try to get in though. I diverted to Lark -> Los Gatos Blvd -> Blossom Hill instead.
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Old 11-29-11, 03:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AndreyT View Post
I actually rode from Campbell to Los Gatos last Saturday. It wasn't entirely dark, but the sun has already set. There were quite a few people still on the trail and some bikers as well. I passed the Lark exit, hoping that the park is still open. However, I quickly discovered that the gates at the dam were closed, but the pedestrian "door" was still open (some people were leaving the park). I didn't try to get in though. I diverted to Lark -> Los Gatos Blvd -> Blossom Hill instead.
Sorry, when I said you can enter the Vasona segment from Lark Ave. I meant from Garden Hill Dr., which is off of Lark.

Which gates are you referring to? These ones? http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.246...6,,0,5.52&z=18

They are always like that.

The dam, which is not really a dam, that I was referring to is here: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.246...src=0&t=m&z=17

... but I don't know of any gates there on the trail, except for the gates between the trail and Garden Hill Dr.

Let me know, I'm pretty sure nothing should be closed, especially at the hour you were riding.
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Old 11-29-11, 03:34 PM   #7
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I'm referring to the gate on the dam, right at the spot that you linked to with your second link. Here's the picture of that gate

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.246...1,,0,22.5&z=19

It doesn't look like the gate in the picture can block the entire entrance, and it probably doesn't. Most likely it goes to that lone post you can also see in the picture. (I can't say now how up-to-date this Google street view image is.) When I was there on Saturday evening that gate was closed, blocking the paved trail entirely. There was a narrow passage left open for people to leave the park. (Apparently it was the gap between the post and the fence on the left in the above picture, although I was under impression that I saw a separate pedestrian gate. I could be mistaken - it was dark).

Technically I could easily enter the park through that pedestrian passage, but since the park appeared to be "officially closed", I decided to go around it. (Turned left at the above spot to Garden Hill and then to Lark.)

Of course, there's another gate on Garden Hill (also closed at night)

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.246...5.96,,0,0&z=19

which one can easily ride around in order to get into the park, as well as an extra side trail from Garden Hill to LGCT before that gate. But again, I simply didn't want to enter an "officially closed" park.

Is that something bikers routinely do? Any problems with park rangers?

Last edited by AndreyT; 11-29-11 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 11-29-11, 04:39 PM   #8
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I'm referring to the gate on the dam, right at the spot that you linked to with your second link. Here's the picture of that gate

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.246...1,,0,22.5&z=19

It doesn't look like the gate in he picture can block the entire entrance, and it probably doesn't. Most likely it goes to that lone post you can also see in the picture. (I can't say now how up-to-date this Google street view image is.) When I was there on Saturday evening that gate was closed, blocking the paved trail entirely. There was a narrow passage left open for people to leave the park. (Apparently it was the gap between the post and the fence on the left in the above picture, although I was under impression that I saw a separate pedestrian gate. I could be mistaken - it was dark).

Technically I could easily enter the park through that pedestrian passage, but since the park appeared to be "officially closed", I decided to go around it. (Turned left at the above spot to Garden Hill and then to Lark.)

Of course, there's another gate on Garden Hill (also closed at night)

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.246...5.96,,0,0&z=19

which one can easily ride around in order to get into the park, as well as an extra side trail from Garden Hill to LGCT before that gate. But again, I simply didn't want to enter an "officially closed" park.

Is that something bikers routinely do? Any problems with park rangers?
Wow, I didn't even know that was a gate; I have never seen it closed! Maybe that Sunday it was just a fluke?

Throughout my experience I've noticed that the rangers drive around in trucks and practically never walk around. So they go to places where the truck can fit, which most of the trail is not. At night I have only seen them driving through parking lots. My friends and I ran into them after dark many times and aside from saying "hi" they have never bothered us... but I also have never seen that section closed either so who knows what new policies they adopted

I do know that people are still using the trail to joy ride, commute, and run around at night. I just saw all kinds of people yesterday around 8, although I was on the other side of Campbell Ave. I would just go around the gate; if a ranger would give me a hard time I would just apologize, say I didn't know, and promise not to let it happen again
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Old 11-29-11, 04:43 PM   #9
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Oh wait! I think I know what's going on, they are setting up for Vasona Park Festival of Lights: http://www.realtown.com/LiveInLosGat...ival-of-lights

That whole park area gets decorated with all kinds of lights and people get to drive around it for a fee. While that's going they probably don't want random characters popping out on bicycles during the event.
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Old 11-30-11, 04:13 PM   #10
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Could be. However, I have a couple of friends who use the trail for running. And they say that they saw the gates closed on regular basis in the summer as well.
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Old 11-30-11, 07:52 PM   #11
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I guess things have changed
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Old 09-27-13, 10:20 PM   #12
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Wondering if this is still the case now. Ancient thread, I have revived you!

I will report back as I'm going to be riding from downtown SJ to Vasona Lake County Park tonight via the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Midnight ride.
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Old 09-28-13, 02:55 AM   #13
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I'm referring to the gate on the dam, right at the spot that you linked to with your second link. Here's the picture of that gate

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.246...1,,0,22.5&z=19

I simply didn't want to enter an "officially closed" park.

Is that something bikers routinely do? Any problems with park rangers?
I just got back from a night ride here and I slowed up at this exact spot pictured above. This, as well as every other gate, was completely open tonight. No park rangers, no issues. My buddy and I saw maybe a total of four other people (two cyclists, a couple shadier looking people who sounded drunk) total.

The trail is super, super fun. I probably should have done it once during the day at least. Not prudent to ride a new trail at night with inadequate lighting. It is DARK.

We entered the actual trail from Willow St. around 11:30PM and luckily my friend had a decent headlamp; my small LED (more to alert cars than to actually illuminate the road) was not cutting it at all. When he gained a few lengths on me I got a bit anxious without his light directly in front of me. At some points there is a width of about 10 feet across where if you veer off either way (and the trail twists and turns quite a bit) you could end up hitting a tree or falling off a little cliff, or worse, into the creek... not to mention the steel posts at each gate that are about 3-4 feet tall. So I just trusted the lines he was taking for the most part until I could catch up! There are a few humps and mini hills that I did not anticipate because my beam had such short range... lost momentum for sure.

Highly recommended night biking!
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