Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,980.00 ft (1,213.10 m)
Trail type
13.77 mi (22.16 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.

Sierra Azul is the South Bay’s solution to tough training hikes -- there is a feeling of accomplishment after tackling this preserve. With its panoramic views, sprouting spring waterfalls and babbling creek as well as power poles, wide, exposed fire roads and potential for ungodly heat, this demanding walk is a power circuit for locals. It is a challenge for sure – a great workout for your legs and lungs. This hike features a section that people around there have named “Dogmeat” (particularly cyclists) and for good reason. It is a slippery, rocky section that calls for traction, oomph, and determination. Instead of going to the gym, get outside and tackle this beast for a satisfying, sweaty session.

There are several combinations you can make, but this hike starts off at the Kennedy Trail, continues at the Limekiln/Woods Trail junction, goes down the Limekiln Trail, back up the Priest Rock Trail and down the Kennedy Trail again to the parking area nailing almost 4,000 feet in elevation gain.

The Kennedy Trail start is located off Kennedy Road and only side street parking is available. There is no parking lot or fees. The first section of the Kennedy Trail is a 4-mile stretch of perpetual climbing with a couple of short, flat sections. After 4 miles, look over to the right. There is a fantastic viewpoint of the South Bay and the preserve’s hilly terrain. Here, we come across our first junction. Keep going straight to continue on the Kennedy Trail – this is the rollercoaster part of undulating hills and is mostly exposed to the sun. Once you’ve met up with the following junction (Limekiln/Woods), make a right to continue down Limekiln. This is a nice reprieve from all the uphill slogging – it is cooler because of the shade, and if you go during the spring, there are random, tiny waterfalls that sprout from the rocks on the cliff sides and this area is particularly more green than the other trail sections. A lot of it is flat and more scenic than the rest of the hike. Once you hit the sign for Priest Rock, make a right and you will be going up again. The last mile of Priest Rock is “Dogmeat” and because you have been hiking this long already, it makes it ever the more tiring. Keep going, you’ve got this. You will end up at the top soon and have made a loop. Go back down the same 4 miles of Kennedy Trail you started off with. 

Note: This hike gets very hot during the summer – best to avoid during summer months. Winter/Spring is cool enough to tolerate the hills.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required

Open Year-round



Challenging. Panoramic views. Vast terrain.


Summer heat.

Trailhead Elevation

817.00 ft (249.02 m)

Highest point

2,894.00 ft (882.09 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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