Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,399.00 ft (426.42 m)
Trail type
5.76 mi (9.27 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is a park located at the edge of Palo Alto off of Page Mill Rd. near Skyline Boulevard. Trails interconnect with Upper Stevens Creek, Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve and is right across from Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. Topographically, this area features a few sag ponds, ravines and rolling hills due to the geological nature of the San Andreas Fault. Summers get hot with temperatures reaching the upper 80s and 90s, making the other seasons more suitable for exploring. There is a pit toilet located at the parking lot, however no potable water. Wildlife can be spotted here including coyote, bobcat, fox and deer. This park feels remote and is a great escape to see nature and appreciate its ridgetop views.

The hike featured here is approximately a 6 mile loop which takes you up a moderately steep climb to Black Mountain and gradually back down to the parking lot. The walk begins at the Stevens Creek Nature Trail, a shaded oak tree speckled single-track which includes a few footbridges, crossing a seasonal creek, bay trees and fern. Veer right onto the Canyon Trail, a wide fire road which leads you to a steep 1 mile climb to a junction at Black Mountain Backpack Camp. This steep climb is exposed and can get really hot depending on the season. Near the top, there are beautiful ridge views. Continue briefly on Montebello Road - the uphill climb gets easier and you can see the Black Mountain antenna from a short distance. At the top, you will notice a few rock outcroppings. Many people like to stop here to take a break, have a snack or eat lunch. Come back down the same way you came on the Montebello Road until you see the Bella Vista Trail to your left. This is an easy, exposed single track trail which meanders the hillsides which are golden in the summer and fall and beautifully green with wildflowers in the spring. Continue on the flat Canyon Trail which features sag ponds and cattails to your right.  Shortly after you see the resting bench, you are half a mile from the trailhead start. Make two quick lefts which lead you back to the parking lot.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Free parking. Wildflowers. Ridge views


No dogs. No potable water.

Trailhead Elevation

2,207.00 ft (672.69 m)

Highest point

2,815.00 ft (858.01 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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