A couple years back I took an underwhelming stroll along the paths at Harvey Bear Ranch, which was Santa Clara County’s newest park at the time. Harvey Bear Ranch isn’t so bad — it’s got rolling hills, wacky oaks and lovely wildflowers come spring — it’s just not all that sexy compared to at least 50 better hiking choices in the Bay Area.

My basic urge to be nice (never know when Mom might click through) coupled with my infallible judgment (till the next wrong turn) preclude the vitriol that makes so many blogs unbearable. About the only post here that reliably gets somebody’s hackles up every six months is that one I did on Harvey Bear Ranch. From the latest comment:

Don’t hate bro!

Bear Ranch may not be the spectacular wilderness that you require, but it has much to offer for a wide variety of folks. I like it for basic hiking/biking workouts in preparation for longer/bigger challenges. In fact I used it to get me “sea legs” on my first mountain bike.(ouch)

The terrain is very appropriate and fun for those of us not in mountain goat condition, and there are sweeping views of the valley, great sunsets and a nice show of wildflowers (thanks, in part, to the cattle). The roads dry out quickly and there are no fast creeks to cross (especially important for those with youngsters). And some spots are great for a nap in the late spring!

Families can use this park for hiking and flower hunting much more comfortably than they can use nearby Coe. In fact I have seen families of all stripes on these trails, whereas at nearby Coe the families are few.

Another one:

I love the Harvey Bears parks trails. They are challenging for runners and mountain bikers. I happen to think the rolling hills dotted with oaks spectacular considering I came from a large smoggy metropolis. Anything but “mundane” for a retired city girl.

I got an even worse lashing from some guy via e-mail but I can’t seem to track that one down.

Here’s a pic from my 2007 hike at Harvey Bear.

Sun, clouds and oaks

In any case, I concede the point: if you like hiking at Harvey Bear Ranch, I’m all for it. Besides, Random Curiosity says it’s becoming his favorite Santa Clara County park. In fact, he was there yesterday.

Also, here’s a map of the trailhead off San Martin Avenue near Morgan Hill:

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