The Los Gatos Creek Trail Part 1: Lexington, Novitiate Park to Blossom Hill Road
Old Los Gatos Creek Trail Pages
The Ghosts of Lexington
Youtube Video: Lexington Dam Spilling, 3/27/11
Santa Clara County Parks
Los Gatos Creek Trail
Vasona/Los Gatos Creek
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Lexington Reservoir and Lenihan Dam
Vasona Dam and Reservoir
Mid-Peninsula Open Space District
St. Joseph's Hill OSP
Sierra Azul OSP
El Sereno OSP
Bear Creek Redwoods OSP
Bay Area Ridge Trail
Los Gatos Parks and Trails
Oak Meadow Park Map
San Jose Parks
San Jose Trails
Los Gatos Creek Trail
Three Creeks Trail
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens:
Guadalupe River Trail
Guadalupe Creek Trail
Valley Transportation Authority
San Francisco Bay Trail
Ron Horii's Park and Trail Pages:
Los Alamitos Creek Trail
Guadalupe River Park
Guadalupe River Trail to Alviso
Coyote Creek Trail
Penitencia Creek Trail
San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail
Stevens Creek Trail
Shoreline Park, Mountain View
Palo Alto Baylands
Stanford Dish Trail
Ravenswood Bay Trail
Port of Redwood City
Bay Area Biking
Bay Trails, South Bay
Bay Area Parks
Santa Teresa Park
Almaden Quicksilver Park
Bay Area Back Pages
SF Bay Rec & Travel
The Los Gatos Creek Trail
Part 2: Oak Meadow and Vasona Parks
Bridge at Vasona Lake County Park
Los Gatos Creek runs from the Sierrra Azul Mountains to downtown San Jose, where it joins with the Guadalupe River. The Los Gatos Creek Trail runs along Los Gatos Creek continuously from Lexington dam to Meridian Avenue, with an isolated segment from Lonus Streeet, under I-280 to Auzerias Avenue. Starting in 1998, I made web pages on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Most of the old pictures on those pages were taken with a film camera and scanned at low resolution. The pictures were kept small due to memory and bandwidth constraints. This page is meant to update the pictures. These are higher resolution digital photographs, taken recently. Many are processed using High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging techniques in order to accommodate the wide range of light and shadows. The pictures below were taken from 2008 to 2010 at different times of the year. They are roughly arranged from south to north.
This page covers two of the most popular destinations along the Los Gatos Creek Trail: Vasona Lake County Park and Oak Meadow Park. Both are in Los Gatos on either side of Los Gatos Creek. Vasona is one of the smallest county parks, at 150 acres, but is one of the busiest. It has picnic areas, lawns, boat rentals, fishing, the Youth Science Institute, a nature trail, and a playground. Vasona is also the home of the County Parks administrative offices. 12-acre Oak Meadow Park, owned and operated by the Town of Los Gatos, has picnic areas, a large lawn, bandstand, bocce ball courts, playground, and a carousel. The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad starts in Oak Meadow Park and runs through Vasona. The main entrance to both Vasona and Oak Meadow Park are on Blossom Hill Road between University Avenue and Hwy 17. The entrances are separate and have separate parking fees. Street parking is available along University Avenue.
Near the entrance to Vasona is a kiosk with displays about all the County Parks.
This is the Los Gatos Creek Trail near the entrance of Vasona, looking back towards Blossom Hill Road. The trail passes under Blossom Hill Road and enters Vasona on the east side of the creek. While the Los Gatos Creek Trail continues to follow the east bank of the creek, Vasona and adjoining Oak Meadow Park have many other park trails, roads, and paths. From Blossom Hill Road to San Tomas Aquino Expressway, the Los Gatos Creek Trail is under the jurisdiction of the Santa Clara County Parks. County Parks rules apply.
The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad crosses a trestle in Vasona. The train runs around a big lawn.
A bridge leads across Los Gatos Creek (above) from Vasona to Oak Meadow Park.
The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad Station is in Oak Meadow Park. This is engine #2, a miniature steam engine, built in 1905, that was purchased by rancher and railroad engineer Billy Jones in 1939. It came from a miniature railway that operated in Venice and Santa Monica, California. Billy Jones built a rail line on his orchard in Los Gatos, giving train rides. After his death in 1969, the railroad was moved to Oak Meadow and Vasona parks.
This is the train station for the railroad, near the west bank of Los Gatos Creek. Gates block the trail when the train is crossing. The station sells tickets as well as food and snacks. In the background are service buildings for the railroad. Behind them, Vasona Park begins.
A manual turntable is used to turn the locomotive around for each trip.
Next to the train station is the W.E. "Bill" Mason Carousel building, designed and built mostly by volunteers.
The carousel was originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. After the exposition, it became part of a traveling circus. It was retired in 1967 and purchased in 1980 by the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad Corporation.
Oak Meadow Park opened in 1958 at a site that was previously used as the sewer farm for Los Gatos. This is the lawn and outdoor bandstand at Oak Meadow Park.
The large Oak Meadow Park playground features a fire engine, train engine, and caboose.
The Lockheed T33-A Shooting Star jet trainer plane at the Oak Meadow Park playground. It was built in 1954 and has been on loan to Los Gatos from the Air Force since 1974. The T33 was America's first jet trainer for training Air Force pilots.
On the west side of Los Gatos Creek north of Oak Meadow Park are 2 group picnic areas in Vasona: Creekside and Meadowbrook (shown above).
This shady section of Los Gatos Creek is in Vasona near the Meadowbrook group picnic site, looking upstream from the west bank.
This is Los Gatos Creek in Vasona near the Meadowbrook group picnic site, looking downstream.
This view is looking across Los Gatos Creek at the Meadowbrook Group Site from the east bank.
This is looking upstream at Los Gatos Creek as it flows under the car bridge that leads to the west side of the park by the boat docks.
This is Los Gatos Creek from the west bank. The creek flows around a small island.
Looking across Los Gatos Creek from the west bank, the Los Gatos Creek Trail runs next to the playground and picnic area. A great egret hunts for fish in the creek.
The Vasona playground
This is the playground and picnic area.
Los Gatos Creek from the east bank just before it enters Vasona Lake. The Vasona Lake Bridge is in the background.
Sweet gum trees in the parking lots turn brilliant colors in the fall.
The Los Gatos Creek Trail approaches the Vasona Lake Bridge, which crosses Los Gatos Creek where it enters Vasona Lake.
Looking back up Los Gatos Creek just before it enters Vasona Lake
Gingko biloba trees on the lawn by the ranger's office.
The bridge from the west side. The boat docks are just north of the bridge.
The boat docks have paddleboats, sailboats, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and a fishing boat for rent, run by LGS Recreation. Because of zebra mussel concerns, no outside boats may be brought into the lake.
On a summer day, the lake is full of all kinds of watercraft.
Los Gatos Creek Trail along the northeast bank of the lake
The Los Gatos Creek Trail nearing the dam
The Viola Anderson Native Plant Trail below the Youth Science Institute.
Below the Youth Science Institute is a viewing platform with a telescope and binoculars for viewing wildlife. In the background is the Vasona Dam.
View of the lake from the west shore.
A small island, seen from the west side of the lake, is a protected nesting spot for birds.
At Vasona Dam, the Los Gatos Creek Trail makes a short, steep drop, then runs along the base of the dam.
View from Vasona Dam, near sunset.
View of a sunset from Vasona Dam.
Vasona dam spilling, 3/27/11.
Past Vasona Park Events
Movie night, 8/10/06
South Bay Fishing in the City, 9/24/06
Puppet show, 9/24/06
Fantasy of Lights pirate ship by the Los Gatos Creek Trail, daytime
Fantasy of Lights pirate ship at night, 2007
Halloween campfire program, 10/24/09
Silicon Valley Duck Race, 6/13/10
Silicon Valley Duck Race carnival, 6/13/10
Vasona Vibrations Concert, Klezmakers, 7/31/10
Audience dancing at the Vasona Vibrations Concert, Klezmakers, 7/31/10