Alert reader Arlene asked if I knew anything about the El Toro hike in Morgan Hill. Being the go-to guy on all trail-related matters in these parts, I had no idea what she was talking about. But I did some googling and got it straight.
Turns out that cone-like mound you always see on the way to Henry Coe is not the “Morgan Hill” after which the town is named. It’s actually called El Toro, because the first guy to climb to the top of it got chased off by a bull, the story goes.
Also turns out that the hill is on private property, but the landowner allows one hike to the top every spring, usually in April. A substantial portion of the mountain is owned by the city of Morgan Hill, but the route to the top crosses private property, whose owners open their acreage once a year to let hikers through. Rick of Hike Half Dome fame wrote it up last year.
This year’s hike is again in April, but the date hasn’t been finalized. It will be announced at this page (or perhaps this one) kept by the Morgan Hill Historical Society. Judging from the pictures, it’s not a trivial trek: the trail goes pretty much straight up the hillside (switchbacks are for babies, I always say).
I asked a nice woman at the historical society if reservations were required; she said nope.
I may just try to squeeze this one in. It drives me nuts seeing that hill over there and knowing I haven’t been to the top of it.
The El Toro hike is an interesting one. Despite all the hype about it being on private property and only open once a year….when I did it last April (see the link Tom provided), it was drizzly and only my 4 people and a man and his 2 kids showed up! We walked up the street from town and a path led up to the trail to the side of a house…NO signs saying KEEP OUT, or PRIVATE PROPERTY etc….so up we went. A nice steep hike and we all fell due to the mud. You may want to try this and not wait until April.