We recently discovered an amazing new preserve Máyyan ‘Ooyákma Coyote Ridge, which has been opened to the public since August 31, 2023 under the care of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. It’s home to a large variety of native plants and wildlife, spanning over 1,859 acres of land with 5 miles of multi-use trails, connecting the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. When we visited it last week, wildflowers had already started to bloom on the hills and in the valleys, and a ranger told us that they will reach peak bloom in April. 

Because of its sensitive serpentine grassland ecosystem, pets and drones are not allowed to enter this precious space, to avoid disturbing its unique biodiversity with many endangered species including the indigenous Bay Checkerspot butterfly. All visitors must register online in advance and obtain a free “butterfly pass” for hiking, biking or horseback riding in the Habitat Protection Area. 

Location & Access Info

The entrance of the preserve is located at 9611 MALECH RD., MORGAN HILL, CA 95037. This chart shows the detailed opening hours and requirements throughout the year. On Saturdays and Sundays from March to May, all visitors are required to sign up for a docent-led tour to access the Habitat Protection Area. Please check out their upcoming events listed on the Open Space Authority EventBrite page

There are four marked trails, three inside the Habitat Protect Area, including the Bay Checkerspot Trail, Serpentine Spring Trail, and Tule Elk Trail, which may be closed due to muddy conditions after rain. However, the gateway may still stay open, then you can visit the Máyyan Wáayi Coyote Valley Overlook Trail, which is the only trail outside the Habitat Protection Area. Two shaded picnic tables are located along this trail with wheelchair-accessibility. 

When we visited the preserve, the weather had been sunny for a few days, so all the trails were open. We arrived 30 minutes before the gate opened, and talked to several rangers and volunteers who also arrived early to prepare for the gate opening.  They are very knowledgeable and friendly and we learned so much from them! Big signs are posted at the gate to welcome the visitors and recognize all the funding partners.

Carpooling is highly recommended if you visit it during a weekend or with a group. Only 42 parking spaces are available. Even though horses are welcome on the trails, reservations are required for equestrians transporting horses in trailers, due to the limited parking. During the wildflower blooming season from March to May, bikes and horses are not permitted on the trails on Saturdays and Sundays. During our visit on a Friday, we encountered about 10 hikers along the way, and we didn’t see any bicyclists or horse riders. 

Before You Hike

We highly recommend that you spend time browsing through the interpretive exhibition, talking to rangers or volunteers at the info booth, and learning about the history and purposes of this special place. This would truly open your eyes and minds to observe nature’s wonders on the hike. 

The staging area has one all-gender restroom, but no drinking water fountain is available at the preserve. Be sure to bring plenty of water on your hike and wear a hat because most of the trails are not shaded. Please read and understand all the rules posted at the gate. Your butterfly pass should be captured as a screenshot on your phone one per group for rangers to check. All shoes, bike tires or horse’s hooves must be cleaned using the brushes and cleaners provided at the gate. This helps prevent spreading diseases or seeds of invasive plants that will harm these vulnerable native plants and wildlife. 

Breathtaking Views

Enjoy these spectacular views we captured last week. We could not find enough words to describe how beautifully and naturally this land is being preserved, in the midst of the fast development of Silicon Valley, thanks to all the efforts of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, their partners and volunteers. 

To Learn More

Watch this 18-minute Video “Diablo Range Revealed: The Coyote Valley Connection”.

“This is the story of Coyote Valley, a critical linkage between the Diablo Range and the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Coyote Ridge. Take a tour of this spectacularly beautiful landscape with us and see why this place is such an incredibly important connection between the two mountain ranges.”

You will also learn a lot from the following blog articles.

If you are interested in getting involved or volunteering, please check out their current projects and volunteering opportunities with training provided.

Let Us Know

We hope you will enjoy visiting Máyyan ‘Ooyákma Coyote Ridge as much as we did. Share your experiences with us  at info@walkbikecupertino.org! Let’s work together to spread the awareness of nature conservation, and preserve the beauty of the earth over generations.