Family Friendly: After the initial climb, great views await. There are lots of side trails up there, so there is plenty for the kids to explore.
You can reach the Bowl Loop Trail
via the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail
and the Meadowlark Trail
. It can also be accessed by entering gate C, although there is no parking there.
The Bowl Loop Trail
climbs immediately uphill from the Meadowlark Trail
. If you turn around and look behind you, views of the Stanford Dish, East Bay, South Bay, Felt Lake, and the rest of the preserve spread out before you. Being at the far end of the park, these views allow you to see the area under the protection of the preserve. The trail is narrow and dirt at this point as it climbs the hillside. Once the trail levels out at the top, there are several options for you as there are lots of side trails used by mountain bikers. The trail goes off to the right and moves around a depression (or bowl if you'll) that fills with water after rainstorms. If there has been enough water, ducks can be seen swimming in the water, especially in the spring time. If the area is dry, head down into the bowl, as the steep sides are good fun when climbing or descending.
After the trail passes this depression, the trail narrows again and descends down the backside of the hill that you climbed. Wildflowers can be seen on either side of the trail and you get a view into the Foothills Park. The trail bottoms out and then climbs up the hill again passing the Bowl Loop Trail Alternative
connector that leads back to where you started. Continuing straight ahead, the trail passes Bowl Loop
, which breaks off to the right before finally ending at the junction with the Meadowlark Trail
Depending on the amount of time you have, there are several options for returning to your car depending on where you parked. You can go left and take the Meadowlark Trail
back toward the trail where you started, or turn to the right and explore other areas of the park, using other trails to get back to your car. It's all easy riding from this point as most of it is level or downhill.