Hikes and Rambles: Hidden Villa, Elephant Mountain Loop (Los Altos)

Vistas from Elephant Mountain

I’m particularly excited about this hike because of the beautiful views and also because my 3.5 year old walked the whole way! We hiked 2.3 miles with 680 feet elevation change, and she did it!

Hidden Villa is a nonprofit educational organization that maintains an organic farm, a hostel, and 1600 acres of open space including 7.85 miles of trails. It’s important to note that they are only open September-May and select weekends in the summer. Check out their website before your visit, because they are also closed this Saturday for sheep shearing day. Parking is $10 or you can buy a season pass for $75. They offer a number of paid programs including farm tours, gardening classes, and summer camp.

Each of the 8 trails is fairly short, so they recommend 4 hikes that are each a combination of the named trails.

We chose the Elephant Trail which started with a fairly steep uphill climb that wove up and down the mountain. The trail was narrow and we were greeted with beautiful views almost immediately and they just got progressively better every time we got a peak out of the woods.

Wooded trail on the Hostel Trail

While we were still close to the farm we regularly heard cows mooing, but that was the only sound we heard that didn’t come from the birds and bugs around us. No highway noise interrupted our walk in nature and we only saw 3 fellow hikers. Bliss.

View from Hostel TrailHostel Trail

The closer we got to the top the better the views were, we could see San Francisco from this spot! We also saw a lot of bugs, caterpillars, and inchworms on this trail which was such a joy for the children.

View from Elephant MountainFlowers on top of Elephant Mountain

The top opened up a little bit so the kids sat down and enjoyed some snacks while I marveled at the view. Silicon Valley is so beautiful and such a stunning intersection of development and nature.

K on top of Elephant MountainVistas from Elephant Mountainvista-elephant-mountain2

The descent was pretty steep and my daughter fell probably a dozen times. Fortunately she’s low to the ground and just slid on her bottom, but I also had a wipe out and tore a hole in my last pair of non-torn jeans! The descent goes down the Grapevine Trail and offers views of the next green mountain. No development meeting nature here! Just beautiful mountains covered in green.

Grapevine Trail

When the trail leveled out it became the Creek Trail and followed the Adobe Creek. They advertise that it is good for kids and strollers and my kids did enjoy tossing rocks in the stream and running along the flat trail.

Bridge on the Creek TrailKids on the Creek TrailCreek Trail

Once you leave the woods you walk through the Hidden Villas farm which was entertaining school groups. We saw goats, sheep, cows, pigs, and chickens as well as some horses that were walking by with riders. We ate lunch in their organic garden and then went on our way.

I would rate this a particularly good hike in Silicon Valley and recommend that everyone check it out. They have loops as long as their 10.5 mile Black Mountain trek and as short as 1.5 miles round trip on the Hostel-Toyon Hill-Creek Loop. I definitely want to make it back before they close for summer camp!

Hidden Villa

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