A Closer Look
The San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail is about five miles long, and at the north end, takes trail runners close to Levi’s Stadium, the Santa Clara Convention Center, and California’s Great America amusement park. There are several businesses along the trail as well, so it gets plenty of business casual visitors during the weekday lunch hour. The entire trail is paved, but there are no lights or water fountains, so do your marathon training during the day and remember to bring your own water bottle.
In 1776, the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition camped along the banks of this river, and named it after the principal patron saint of the expedition – the Virgin of Guadalupe. Today, the river has 11 miles of trails made up of two segments: the upper system links to three other trails, and the lower is used for recreation and commuting, as it provides access to downtown San Jose. The flat pitch, paved trail, and length of the trail system make this a natural favorite location for knowledge workers to explore their local environment.
The Homestead Run trail parallels Pescadero Creek, and takes nature-lovers on a short hike through four picnic and camping areas called Huckleberry Flats. Trail runners can enjoy the shade from the majestic, beautiful, mature redwood trees along the path, as well as the cool, characteristic San Francisco fog that rolls through the area. The Homestead Trail feeds into the much longer Pomponio Trail on the north end.
Circumnavigating the new stadium, this trail gives a unique perspective of the stadium from every angle. Initially used as a barrier road during construction, enterprising local business chipped in to fund the paving of the road along with contributions from the city of Santa Clara as well. This trail became an important part of the stadium traffic plan in that it could handle a sizeable surge in pedestrian traffic during large events. The trail features several interactive stadium trivia stations that not only educate, but double as exercise stations.
The Mt. Eden trail is located in the southern part of the beautiful Stevens Creek County Park in Cupertino. The park – made up of more than 1,000 acres including an 86-acre reservoir – has several multi-use trails, with varying levels of difficulty for hikers, bikers, and even horseback riders. Mt. Eden is one of the less challenging trails, and at just 1.5 miles long, it gives park visitors the opportunity to get in some moderate exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery, the native plants, and plenty of areas for rest and shade.
This trail holds a beautiful gift for runners near the middle mark – it loops right through a corner of the Municipal Rose Garden. The garden contains over 4,000 rose shrubs representing over 189 different varieties and hybrids. If you don’t want to do the other half of the run, you can tap out after smelling the flowers at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. If you do decide to run the whole 3.6 miles, you’ll find yourself running along The Alameda trail in San Jose as you make your way back up to Santa Clara University, which is where the trail begins and ends.
Just south of Mission College, and near the San Tomas Aquino Creek, the Juliette Loop takes runners on a quick 0.9 miles around and through some of the Intel campus. Runners start on Mission College Boulevard, and circle down to Juliette Lane before making their way back. This loop is a great lunchtime stroll or jog for Intel staff as well as visitors looking to explore the area. After exercising the body, be sure to stop by the Intel Museum near the end of the loop to exercise the mind by learning about Intel’s long history of industry-changing tech innovation.
If walking around California’s Great America isn’t enough exercise for you, consider taking a run around this rectangular loop instead. Just one block west of the amusement park, and named after the Drive on which it starts, the Patrick Henry loop is a simple city trail that is a quick 1.5 miles from start to finish. It’s flanked on the westside by the Calabazas Creek, and sits directly north of Mission College. The annual Great America Frog Jumping contest is held here annually on June 21st to celebrate the longest day of the year.
If you’re looking for a run that takes you over ten miles, with views of both city and water, the Bay Trail might be the one for you. With a starting point near where the San Tomas Aquino Creek flows by the Intel Museum, this trail follows the creek through the city and past Levi’s Stadium. The path then leads past Calabazas and Saratoga Creeks to the Bay, where it makes a generous loop before sending runners back on their way towards the starting point. Great vistas of stunning beauty span the entire Bay Area biosphere.
If you happen to be at California’s Great America, and want to take a quick .3 mile walk through the amusement park sites, the Home Stretch trail awaits. Running right through the middle of the park, this path starts near Celebration Plaza and guides visitors through the various attractions within the park, like Rip Roaring Rapids and Planet Snoopy. You’ll finish the short stroll by the Great Barrier Reef, where you can jump into the sandless “ocean” to cool off or catch some of the man-made waves. If runners need a little boost of energy, the famous rainbow- colored cotton candy seems to provide a hyperglycemic boost.