It’s true that Gilroy, California is home to the Garlic Festival and is the Garlic Capital of the World, but did you know how many outdoor activities Gilroy has? Gilroy is your physical distancing heaven with so many hidden gems to check out! Whether you live local, you’re looking for the best bay area hiking trails or are looking for things to do outside in Gilroy, look no further! Find trails with waterfalls in Gilroy, hiking in Gilroy, beautiful walks in Gilroy, dog-friendly trails in Gilroy, hiking in the redwoods, wineries in Gilroy (who doesn’t love wine tasting before a walk?!), equestrian trails near Gilroy and cute towns to visit near Gilroy!
Mount Madonna County Park, Watsonville
Mount Madonna County Park is located in Gilroy, California although very close to Watsonville, California and if you’re trying to go to the beach, it’s also on the way to Santa Cruz, California. Mount Madonna is a bay area hiking trail favorite between the dog-friendly hiking trails, Mount Madonna Henry Miller Ruins offers history going back to 1870 (you might even see a ghost) and feel free to go right up to the Mount Madonna White Reindeer! Mount Madonna Temple is a true hidden gem, and camping in Mount Madonna is a truly unique experience with the option to rent out yurts hidden in the redwoods.
- Equestrian trails
- Mt Madonna Stables (horseback riding in the redwoods – you do not want to miss this!)
- Henry Miller Ruins
- Amphitheater for your gathering needs (weddings, family reunions, BBQ’s)
- Camping reservations and yurts
- On the way to Watsonville and Santa Cruz
- Closest Wineries: Solis Winery, Besson Family Vineyards, Sarah’s Vineyard, Fortino Winery, Hecker Pass Winery
Sprig Lake Trail, Gilroy
Sprig Lake Trail in Gilroy, California has some of our most beautiful and lush hiking trails in Gilroy, and is one of the most unique bay area hiking trails. Whether you want to go for a difficult hike in Gilroy, or a beautiful walking trail in Gilroy, Sprig Lake has both! When you enter the parking lot at Sprig Lake Gilroy, you can either park on the right-hand side or cross over the bridge and park in a small lot. Walk along the creek (keep walking along the path in front of the bench) or break a sweat hiking all the way up Sprig Lake Mount Madonna by entering the trail to the left of the bench. If you’d like a more gradual hike, walk back over the bridge and into the area where the horse trailers park.
- Equestrian trails (right hand side)
- On the way to Mount Madonna, Watsonville/ and Santa Cruz
- Could stop by Gizdich Ranch for a slice of pie
Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park, San Martin
Harvey Bear County Park has multiple entrances and many different trails you can take whether you’re looking for horse trails near Gilroy, bike trails near Gilroy or to walk Harvey Bear’s loop. While walking, biking, horseback riding or hiking Harvey Bear Trails, you’ll see cows, wildlife, rolling green hills, incredible views of Morgan Hill and Gilroy and oak trees the size of a two-story building. If you’re looking for multiple trail options, this bay area hiking trail ranges from easy to intermediate, is great for biking and is also nearby Coyote Lake.
- Equestrian trails
- 2 main entrances (off San Martin Ave for the loop or off Roop Rd in Gilroy)
- Nearby Wineries: Satori Cellars, Verde Vineyards, Miramar Vineyards, Creekview Vineyards, Heller Winery, Church Creek Cellars
Uvas Canyon County Park, Morgan Hill
Uvas Canyon County Park is without a doubt one of Gilroy and Morgan Hill’s most incredible hidden gems and one of the most unique bay area hiking trails you can find. If you’re looking for waterfalls near Gilroy, you can hike Uvas Canyon County Park Waterfall Loop or walk along the creek and bridges to check out Uvas Canyons Waterfalls. About a month or two after the heaviest rain of the year, Uvas Canyon is lush with moss covered trees, multi colored leaves falling all around you, full waterfalls and a running creek. If you’re planning a trip in Gilroy, we highly recommend coming in February or March which is after our heaviest rain. Not only are the rolling hills a luminous green, but all of Gilroy and Morgan Hill’s hiking trails make you feel like you’ve been transported to a magical place where fairies and trolls live.
- Parking lot
- Reservation required until July 5, 2020 (You can go to www.gooutsideandplay.org or call 408-355-2201 to make your reservation)
- Wineries nearby: MOHI Wines, Kirigin Cellars, Aver Family Vineyards, Dorcich Family Vineyards, Clos LaChance Winery
Uvas Reservoir County Park, San Martin
Uvas Reservoir County Park is a beautiful spot to go fishing near Gilroy! If fishing isn’t quite your thing, Uvas Reservoir is also a great spot to go for a walk or pack a picnic and enjoy the quiet. If you arrive at Uvas Reservoir at sunrise or sunset and sit by the water, you can see the fish jump out of the water, and depending on the water level you can often hike all around Uvas Reservoir. Fun fact: Uvas Reservoir County Park was often visited by the Mutsun Ohlone Indians for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. What’s now the reservoir was once a part of Rancho Las Uvas (it was over 11,000 acres), which was granted by Mexican Governor Alvarado to Lorenzo Pineda in 1842. Time went on, and the land later became patented under the American courts to Martin Murphy, an early pioneer of Morgan Hill and Gilroy. As our valley’s population grew, the construction of Uvas Dam and Reservoir began in 1957 as a countrywide effort to ensure adequate water supplies.
- Hiking and walking
Anderson Lake County Park, Morgan Hill
Anderson Lake County Park is known locally to boat enthusiasts, a local favorite for hiking near Gilroy and to go fishing near Gilroy. Anderson Lake offers numerous hiking trails, including a trail starting at Coyote Creek and ends at the top of Anderson Reservoir with a 180 degree view of Morgan Hill and Gilroy. This bay area hiking trail offers a unique view of Gilroy and Morgan Hill that’s hard to beat at sunset! Anderson Lake is Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir, a true sight to see in person whether you’re going for a hike around the lake, taking your horse for a trail ride, fishing or going for a bike ride.
- Free parking
- Entrance fee (free during shelter in place)
Coyote Creek Trail, Morgan Hill
Coyote Creek Trail is your best bet if you’re looking for a bay area hiking trail, paved trails near Gilroy for bicycling, rollerblading or hiking. Coyote Creek Trail is paved over 15 miles long, following the creek nearby highway 101 on the way north to San Jose. Coyote Creek Park is also right down the street, as well as Anderson Dam if you’d like to pack a picnic and eat under the shade of a giant oak tree next to the creek.
- Equestrian trails
- 15-mile paved path
- Walking distance to Coyote Creek Park and Anderson Dam
Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park
Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park offers a self-guided walking trail near Gilroy showing the history of the tribe that lived there thousands of years ago. If you plan to go wine tasting in Gilroy, this is a great stop for a short walk with beautiful trees, history and is also near Uvas Creek. Along your walk, you’ll find petroglyphs, bedrock mortars and an interpretive shelter focusing on tribal culture and the Adams schoolhouse which was located on this property from the 1850s until 1956.
- Not dog-friendly
- Free parking
San Juan Bautista
San Juan Bautista is a short drive from Gilroy and features the beautiful San Juan Bautista Mission, delicious food and Juan Bautista De Anza Historic Trailhead, a history rich and lush bay area hiking trail. San Juan Bautista is similar to Gilroy, as it’s rich in history and is so fun to walk through downtown whether you’re looking to go shopping for antiques, grab a margarita or some authentic Mexican food.
San Juan Bautista has hiking near Gilroy at Juan Bautista De Anza Historic Trailhead, offering 5.3 miles of moderate trail with beautiful wild flowers all around and is dog friendly as well.
If you’re a history buff, San Juan Bautista Mission is your place near Gilroy to check out. Founded on June 24, 1797, Mission San Juan Bautista was modeled after a Spanish town and has approximately thirty historic buildings in the area that surrounds that mission. Feel free to walk all around the area to take it all in and see how many trees you can find growing in some rather crazy places (such as on top of one of the church bells).
Fremont Peak State Park
Fremont Peak State Park offers hiking near Gilroy and is a favorite bay area hiking trail. This beautiful park offers expansive views of Monterey Bay as you’re hiking along the trails in the grasslands, or if you’re up in Gavilan Range. You’ll also see Santa Lucia Mountains east of Big Sur, Salinas Valley and San Benito Valley. As one of the most unique hiking areas near Gilroy, you’ll see pine and oak woodlands in and around Fremont Peak, and this is also home to many birds and mammals. Feel free to camp at Fremont Peak Park, they also offer picnic facilities and Fremont Peak Observatory, an astronomical observatory.
- Parking lot is closed however you can park outside of the park and walk in