Stile Ranch Trail comes up often in any discussion of the best places to see wildflowers in the hills rimming Silicon Valley.
The trail zigzags up the southern edge of Santa Teresa County Park, a hilly slice of the south end of San Jose, California.
The trail's steep terrain and southern exposure make it a prime habitat for the California poppy, but many more species color this route as you go along.
One note for hikers: mountain bikers like this trail as well -- fortunately it's rugged enough to prevent them from working up a head of steam, but you'll no doubt dodge a few on your way.
Trails on this route: Stile Ranch Trail > Fortini Trail.
This 2.6-mile route is a nice introduction to Santa Teresa Count Park, which has a good trail network that is well-marked and easy to navigate.
Springtime, of course, is the best time to try this hike, though the hiking will also be nice in the winter as long as the trails aren't too muddy.
Wear sunscreen -- there's no shade here and even in this short distance you could get a burn, especially if you have fair skin.
Contact: (408) 225-0225.
Hours: 8 a.m. until sunset
Fees: Free at Stile Ranch trailhead; $6 per vehicle inside Santa Teresa County Park
Dogs: Allowed (leashed)
Driving directions to Stile Ranch trailhead: From San Jose, take Almaden Expressway until it ends, turn right on Harry Road, then turn left on McKean Road. Go 1.3 miles to Fortini Road, turn left, go toward the hills and turn left onto San Vicente Avenue; a 10 car parking lot will be on the right.