Calero County Park is one of Santa Clara County’s most diverse regional park and recreation areas. Once part of the Pueblo lands of San Jose, and Rancho San Vincente land grant, this approximate 4,455-acre park is nestled in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Two distinct areas define this park: the reservoir, which offers a host of water-oriented recreational activities, and the adjoining “back country” which reveals to the visitor California Oak woodland, chaparral, riparian plant communities and associated wildlife habitats. During the months of March, April and May the “back country” offers a spectacular display of wildflowers. In addition, the park offers breathtaking views of southern Santa Clara County and the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountain Range. Enjoy your visit today, and return again to experience the diversity of Calero County Park.
How to get there
The boat launch area and the park entrance/trail head are located off McKean Road. Traveling to the boat launch area from Central San Jose, take Almaden Expressway south to Harry Road. Turn right onto Harry Road; then left onto McKean Road. The reservoir is on the right; about three miles south of Harry Road. Traveling to the park on southbound Highway 101, exit Bailey Ave (Exit 373) and turn right. Head west on Bailey Ave until you reach McKean Rd. Turn right and continue about ½ mile and the entrance to the reservoir will be on your left. Traveling on northbound Highway 101, exit Bailey Ave (Exit 373) and turn left onto Bailey Ave heading west. Continue on Bailey Ave until you reach McKean Rd and make a right. In ½ mile is the entrance to the reservoir.
To reach the trailhead staging area and access to the 18.6 miles of trails, follow the directions above but at Bailey Ave and McKean Rd turn left onto McKean Rd (southbound) and continue 0.5 miles to the park entrance on your right.
The reservoir is open year-round to both power and non-power vessels. Power boating, sailing, fishing, water-skiing and jet-skiing are all activities for which Calero Reservoir is ideally suited. Two sites near the water’s edge include picnic tables and barbecues, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A reservable group picnic area is also available. Group picnic and boating reservations can be made online at https://gooutsideandplay.org or call (408) 355-2201
The back country offers 18.6 miles of trails available to hikers and equestrians. At the trailhead is a large staging area , which can accommodate vehicle and equestrian parking and is adjacent to the park office. Bicyclists can now enjoy the ½-mile segment of the Serpentine Loop Trail that connects to Longwall Canyon Trail in the Open Space Authority’s Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. All users will now be able to use trails that connect these two parks.
Dogs on leash will be allowed on Bald Peaks Trail and all trails north of Bald Peaks Trail.
First come picnic sites with barbeques are available. This area may be reserved for organized events and gatherings. Arrangements can be made with park staff for a wide range of interpretive programs and outdoor projects.
Hours and Fees
The park is open year-round from 8 a.m. until sunset. The reservoir use hours are 8 a.m. until one half hour before sunset. Reservoir and vehicle use fees are collected daily. Launch and entry fees are posted at the kiosk. There is no fee for parking at the trailhead staging area.
In compliance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (‘ADA’),the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its programs, services, or activities. The Department will make reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disability have an equal opportunity to enjoy our programs, services, facilities, and activities. If you need assistance with an ADA request, please contact our ADA Coordinator.
CATCH AND RELEASE… PLEASE DON’T EAT THE FISH
Mercury has been found to accumulate in Calero Reservoir at levels that make the fish from Calero Reservoir unsafe to eat.
The nearby Almaden Valley area of Santa Clara County was once the site of quicksilver (mercury) mining. Sediments containing mercury have been deposited in some of the local reservoirs. Over time, the mercury in the sediment may have been converted to methyl mercury by naturally occurring bacteria. Methyl mercury is absorbed by aquatic plants and fish, and subsequently by humans who may eat the contaminated fish. If you have any questions regarding mercury and its effects, please contact the County’s Environmental Health Services, (408) 918-3400