John Nicholas Trail

 13 votes
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Featured Ride

5.1 Miles 8.2 Kilometers


1,193' 364 m


-171' -52 m


2,914' 888 m


1,795' 547 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (10°)

Minor Issues

14 hours agoUpdate

Fun new trail connecting Black Rd. to Skyline Trail - some great views and beautiful redwood forest.

Marco Soldano


This trail starts from the gate on Black Road, where you can park or ride up from Lexington reservoir. The first 1.5mi of trail is fairly flat on a well maintained fireroad, meandering through the forest. At about 1.5mi you'll reach the Ranch Lake reservoir, where you may find some wildlife (deer, rabbits and skunks). After going around the reservoir, you'll see a steep fireroad on the right dropping down to Sanborn Rd.

Instead, you'll veer left and start climbing up to the new section of the trail along a small creek. The new trail is about 4' wide, with a few wooden bridges and benches under heavy tree cover. The climb is fairly gradual with only a couple of steeper sections. As you climb higher there will be a couple good vista points to enjoy.

After about 5 miles you'll reach Skyline trail. This trail has been only recently opened to bikes. Keep right on Skyline and you'll reach the parking lot on Skyline Blvd. From there you can ride back down the way you came, or, if you prefer, make a loop on the road by turning left on Skyline and another left on Black Road for a beautiful paved descent to your car. There are some sections without a dividing line - and some sneaky corners - so it can be wise to use a bit of caution.


Land Manager: Santa Clara County Parks

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4.5 from 13 votes

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Jan 4, 2017
Andy Quindeau
Dec 17, 2016
ebtokyo mtb
Dec 5, 2016
ebtokyo mtb
Nov 25, 2016
ebtokyo mtb
Oct 29, 2016
Steve Gibson
Oct 24, 2016
Johnnie P.
First time for me getting to the top from Black Rd without putting a foot down! Feeling good!
Oct 23, 2016
Johnnie P.
Oct 21, 2016
Johnnie P.
First time on this trail. Seems like a great little out and back for after work.

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 13 votes


  4.5 from 13 votes
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in California


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14,717 Since Dec 16, 2014
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate



Minor Issues 14 hours ago
Muddy, Fallen Trees - Trail from black Rd to Lake ranch is washed out, lots of fallen trees. Is passable, but be prepared to hike-a-bike. Smooth sa...
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Getting forecast...

I took my 10 year old son on his first mountain bike ride ever on this trail but in reverse i.e. only from the top to the bottom. After reading comments elsewhere about this trail being suitable for "road bikes" we attempted it in a mountain bike (front suspension) fitted with hybrid Marathon Plus 26 x 1.75 tires and a kid's bike with 20 x 1.35 tires (no suspension). I should not have believed what was written elsewhere: this is not really a "road bike" trail (we we rode hybrid/cross configurations -- no way are you getting down there alive on a skinny road bike tire). We got down OK -- the ride was very beaitful and a great beginner ride for my son -- but he had to walk his bike down several sections. So I strongly recommend people for (at least going downhill) to use a proper mountain bike or a cross bike with suitably thick tires with good grip. I've now swaped out the Marthan Plus 26 x 1.75s on my MTB out with some Bontrager XR4 mountain bike 26 x 2.2 tires and I am going to buy my son a proper mountain bilke -- this trail is too good not to do again! Feb 14, 2016

This trail is awesome. The highlight for me is hitting the series of water bars in the middle of the descent, which make the downhills interesting and can provide some really fun air. Feel the G's! Oct 23, 2016

It's properly build trail and it drains water very well. It gets better with time as you get to know it more. there are tons of small natural features to play with. I wish we had more trails like this around here... Dec 29, 2016

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