This is a beautiful loop with climbs on both sides of the park, toward Mt Hamilton on the first half, and with a view over Silicon Valley on the second half.
The trails are wide, but I rated it as intermediate/difficult due to the amount of climbing, which can be strenuous in parts.
There is a $6 charge for parking, paid at the main entrance.
Start from the parking lot in the main part of Joseph Grant park. You'll need to pay a parking fee at the entrance. If you don't want to pay the fee, you can try to find a parking spot nearby at Grant Lake, or even start at Twin Gates up the road (the highest point on this loop).
Start at Hotel Trail
and turn left toward Grant Lake. When you get to Mt Hamilton Road, cross over onto Yerba Buena Trail
, and start the first climb. Parts of Yerba Buena Trail
are steep. If you like, you can take the road instead for a more gradual climb. When you get to Cañada de Pala Trail
, turn right toward the Twin Gates. This section of the trail has great views over the valley.
When you get to the parking lot at Twin Gates, cross the road, through the gate, onto Bonhoff Trail
. This has some steep parts too, especially just after the road, and some great downhill sections. If you look to the left, you can see Lick Observatory at the top of Mt Hamilton.
When you get to the crossroads, there will be a pond on the right. Turn right onto Foothill Trail
, which heads down into the valley. After a mile or so, you'll get to Eagle Lake, which has many birds and cattails, very beautiful. You may see cows there too. Continue down onto Hotel Trail
, which turns toward the parking lot.
If you like, you can take Hotel Trail
all the way back to the parking lot, but if you want to continue, turn left at the crossroads, onto Cañada de Pala Trail
. This will take you down to a wonderful river within the oak trees. In the summertime, the water is about a foot deep, and I just ride through.
Take the next left onto Dutch Flat Trail
. This will be another extended climb, wonderfully beautiful within the oak trees, and it will take you all the way to the top of the ridge overlooking Silicon Valley. At this point, I'm walking through the steeper sections.
There is a scenic overlook about three miles on with a bench and a great view. Soon afterward, you start heading down back toward the parking lot.