Perched in the vicinity of Los Gatos, California, the Kennedy Trail is an 8-mile out-and-back route that's a paradise for those with a penchant for uphill cycling. With grades that go beyond steep, this is the ride that will make your legs scream while your heart soars, thanks to the spectacular views of the Bay Area.
Parking and Initial Steps
- Direction: Take HWY 17 to the Los Gatos exit, head south to Los Gatos Blvd, make a left/east turn onto Kennedy Road. Within a couple of miles, you'll find a small parking area.
Grab a map at the gate for the best navigation experience. The trail primarily consists of fire roads, devoid of any singletrack.
A Closer Look at the Trail
- Elevation: Starts at 800 feet, climbs to 2,700 feet in just 3.9 miles.
- Terrain: Predominantly fire road.
- Special Features: Few resting flats and some brief downhill sections for a breather.
- Views: Scenic overlooks of the Bay Area.
What to Expect
- Tough Climbs: The trail from the Kennedy entrance is the least challenging, but don't mistake 'least' for 'easy.' Approaches from Lexington and Hicks can force you to dismount and walk your bike.
- Foot Traffic: Expect company, even on weekday mornings.
- Local Routes: Some locals opt for a roundabout path that includes a coffee stop through town, heading up Kennedy and down to Lake Lexington, before taking the bike path back to the starting point.
Tips and Precautions
- Safety First: Rangers patrol the area. Helmets are not optional; neglecting one could earn you a warning ticket.
- Fitness Level: If you're not in great shape, perhaps reconsider. This trail is grueling.
- Alternative Routes: If climbing isn't your forte, consider Santa Teresa or Saratoga Gap trails.
The Kennedy Trail is not for the faint of heart or weak of quads. It's a strenuous, challenging route that rewards you with unparalleled views if you can conquer its inclines. With few resting flats and occasional short downhills to catch your breath, the trail demands both skill and endurance. However, if you're looking to test your climbing abilities or seeking an intense workout, this trail near Los Gatos is the perfect destination.