A view of the Los Gatos Creek Trail in Vasona County Park.
From the Lexington Reservoir in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Los Gatos, the Los Gatos Creek Trail follows the stream north into San Jose. This multi-city thoroughfare is maintained, in part, by no less than four separate city and county governments. Though plans are to have the trail terminate when the stream converges with Guadalupe River, it currently ends at Meridian Avenue in San Jose.
Most of the path is paved, making it easy to walk for people of all abilities. The surroundings vary from section to section along the trail. In some spots you might have heavy tree cover, in others open fields and playgrounds. The creek might flow and meander in a natural state here and then be constricted to a straight cemented slough there. You'll hear children laughing and playing in one area, and highway traffic in another. It's a strange mix of very nice and not so much.
There's no charge to use the trail, but you may have to pay an entrance fee if you seek convenient parking at one of the parks that dot the trail's path. Portions of the trail that pass through the parks are some of the most pleasant, even if they do attract the most people. The creek tends to look more natural here and less like a storm runoff drain.
Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Lake Park share the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad, a miniature railroad that's a hit with the kids and their parents. The railroad crossing at the trail includes miniature crossing gates and blinking lights.