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Santa Clara County Parks “PixInParks” Magnificent 7 Challenge

Silicon Valley is renowned as a high-tech hub but it is also an epicenter of outdoor adventure. From mountains, meadows, rolling hills, and redwood forests, there is so much to explore right in our own backyard. That is the goal of the Santa Clara County Parks PixInParks Magnificent 7 Challenge – encouraging residents to get out into nature and learn about the bountiful beauty that surrounds us.

Consisting of 28 regional parks and 52,000 acres of terrain, Santa Clara County Parks purchased its first parkland in 1924, which eventually became Stevens Creek County Park. Mount Madonna Park was secured in 1927. It and Stevens Creek are two of the three “Bonus” trails featured on the “Magnificent 7” that make up this year’s PixInParks Challenge.

In its third year, the PixInParks Challenge began in 2017. Each year, seven pathways are chosen by the Parks Department as a way to encourage local residents to explore and discover the regional outdoor areas in Santa Clara County. And, with more and more people looking to get outdoors during the Shelter in Place, this challenge is one that the entire family can enjoy.

The Magnificent 7 trails for this year’s Challenge are:

  1. Coyote Lake Harvey Bear, 5.45 miles of moderate terrain
  2. Almaden Quicksilver, 4.52 miles of moderate terrain
  3. Chitactac Adams, a short .3 mile, easy pathway (no dogs allowed on this trail)
  4. Los Gatos Creek Trail, an easy 4.1 mile pathway
  5. Santa Teresa, a moderate 2.9 mile hike
  6. Ed R. Levin, a moderate 3.78 miles
  7. Sanborn, a 4.2 mile moderate hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains

For everyone who hikes all seven trails and takes a photo at the designated location, the County Parks Department will send you a commemorative t-shirt or bandana. Take a selfie or group photo and post to Instagram using #PixInParks. Once you’ve completed the Magnificent 7, complete and submit this form. Then, drop by the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Administration Office at 298 Garden Hill Drive, Los Gatos, 95032 with your photos to pick up your t-shirt or bandana.

There are also three Bonus hikes for those who want to extend their outdoor adventure. For those who “up their outdoor game,” they will receive a commemorative tote bag.

  1. Mount Madonna, a moderate 2.7 mile hike
  2. Stevens Creek, 2.24 mile easy pathway
  3. Joseph D. Grant, a 3.75 mile easy hike

Planning ahead is important to making your adventure an enjoyable one. Check the weather in advance and dress accordingly. Be sure to wear sunscreen, proper footwear, bring plenty of water, and pack snacks or a picnic lunch. If you are taking young ones along, consider their ability to complete the entire trail. Many trails also allow dogs if they are on leash; be sure to take the length and difficulty into account. And of course, remember to take that picture with your smartphone at the designated location.

Each trail has its own GeoPDF map that can be downloaded and used on your phone with or without cell service. It is highly recommended to use both the GeoPDF and a printed map to ensure you stay on the proper trail and understand your location.

Alongs your wanderings, look all around you. Appreciate the serene and varied landscapes of each park and path. Notice rock outcroppings, copses of trees, wildflowers, waves of meadow grasses, waterfalls and creeks, fairy rings of redwoods. Soak up the serenity of nature, appreciate its wild and diverse beauty, all located in the heart of Silicon Valley.

For more information on the 2020 PixInParks Challenge, to sign up for the newsletter or to access maps or trail conditions, click here.

The Challenge ends December 15, 2020 so you have plenty of time to plan your personal #PixInParks adventures. If you participate, we would love to see your photos! Which was your favorite? What natural wonders did you discover?

The Dawn Thomas Team guides nice people through Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz County real estate matters. Our mission is to help everyone find their place in this world. Contact us today and we can assist you in selling or buying your home.

Photo by Jacob Stone on Unsplash

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Dawn Thomas

Dawn Thomas


Silicon Valley Real Estate expert, Dawn Thomas, holds a certificate from the program on negotiation at Harvard Law School