Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is one of the best introductory backpacking trips in the Bay Area. This Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) protects a watershed in the Santa Cruz Mountains about Palo Alto. The Black Mountain Backpack Camp is about 2.5 miles from the main parking lot along that climbs 500′ along open hills. Recently, I went backpacking at Monte Bello with three different families. During my three year old son’s first backpacking trip, we backpacked about the clouds.
The well maintained trails were above the source of Stevens Creek and its canyon. The hills in May were turning from brown to green.
We stayed at the Black Mountain group campsite. There are four other campsites as well.
I’m enjoying dinner with my favorite backpacking partners – Jackson 6 and James 3. Their poop in the woods shirts helped us identify the mountain lion scat we found near the campsite.
Black Mountain is the highest point (2812′) above the town of Mountain View. We could see the ocean, and Black Mountain represents an easy 0.5 mile hike from the camp. We found a large rattlesnake skin.
The sunsets and golden hour at Monte Bello are excellent. The sun set below the Pacific while bathing the area in golden light.
Playing in the hills.
The sun is setting below the horizon.
Monte Bello generally sits above the marine layer making for excellent sunsets.
Hiking back to the after a successful first backpacking trip.