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John Nicholas Trail

 4.6 (46)
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Map Key

5.1 Miles 8.2 Kilometers


1,193' 364 m


-171' -52 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (10°)

2,914' 888 m


1,795' 547 m


Shared By Marco Soldano


Minor Issues 66 days ago
Some Mud, Fallen Trees: A few fallen trees at the beginning and end, but riders with an electric chainsaw were coming up. Some mud, stay out of ruts! History

Getting forecast...

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

Marco Soldano

Dogs Leashed

Features eMTB allowed


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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Your Check-Ins


Feb 20, 2019
Matt Schrag
Jan 4, 2019
Doug Haines
Good challenging ride for beg/int. Most singletrack. Mix of switchbacks and good climbs. Certainly not an easy ride, not overly technical . 9.2mi — 1h 29m
Nov 3, 2018
Nathan Wilson
Oct 28, 2018
Joshua Rolland
Oct 6, 2018
Joe M
Sep 29, 2018
Matt Garrity
Aug 25, 2018
Brandon Traut
Aug 24, 2018
Tim K

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 46 votes


  4.6 from 46 votes
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in California


372 Views Last Month
31,586 Since Dec 16, 2014
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

Nick Oxsen
San Jose, CA
Nick Oxsen   San Jose, CA
This trail was purpose built with mountain bikes in mind. It's fairly smooth (though the recent rain as exposed more rocks) and flowy, providing a continuous descent all the way down to Lake Ranch. You have the choice of starting from the top at the Sunnyvale Mountain trailhead and doing the downhill first or start at Black rd trailhead and earn your downhill with a good climb. Apr 24, 2017
Damon Moon
Santa Clara, CA
Damon Moon   Santa Clara, CA
I created a downhill video (one take) on this trail. It sure is a lot of fun down this trail. I went up on Black Road and came down on the trail. Dec 16, 2017
Watch out for speed traps, passed a ranger with a radar gun on the climb up. Apr 3, 2018

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