Parks & Trails

Vasona Park

Vasona Park
Vasona Park, formerly Vasona Lake County Park, is a park located in Los Gatos, California and part of the Santa Clara County Parks system. Adjacent Oak Meadow Park is owned by the Town of Los Gatos. Vasona Park surrounds Vasona Reservoir, which, like Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos’ southern edge, was formed by damming Los Gatos Creek. The reservoir is host to non-power recreational boating, and a marina on site has pedal boats for public rental in addition to docks and storage for small private sailing craft. Other popular water sports in the reservoir include kayaking and standup paddleboarding. The park is also home to the Youth Science Institute, several picnic pavilions, and several hiking/biking trails. The popular Los Gatos Creek Trail, which runs from Lexington Dam to just short of downtown San Jose, passes through the park. It is one of the most popular parks in the south bay.

The land within the park’s boundaries is among the most historic in Los Gatos. The grantees of the “Rancho Rinconada de Los Gatos”, Jose Hernandez and Sebastian Peralta, constructed an adobe house on what is now one of the park’s lawns. It was the first structure built in the area.


Big Basin Redwoods

Lush coast redwood forest of Big Basin
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of California, located in Santa Cruz County, about 36 km (22 mi) northwest of Santa Cruz. The park contains almost all of the Waddell Creek watershed, which was formed by the seismic uplift of its rim, and the erosion of its center by the many streams in its bowl-shaped depression.

Big Basin is California’s oldest State Park, established in 1902, earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark. Its original 3,800 acres (15 km2) have been increased over the years to over 18,000 acres (73 km2). It is part of the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion and is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco. It contains 10,800 acres (44 km2) of old-growth forestas well as recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 600 m (2,000 ft). The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, warm ridge tops.

The park has over 130 km (81 mi) of trails. Some of these trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. The Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to Waddell Beach and the adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh.

The park has a large number of waterfalls, a wide variety of environments (from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes), many animals (deer, raccoons, an occasional bobcat) and abundant bird life – including Steller’s jays, egrets, herons and acorn woodpeckers.


Kelly Park

Japanese Friendship Garden
Dr. Howard A. Kelly Park, often called Kelly Park, is a protected area which is owned by Orange County, Florida. It lies about 17 miles (27 kilometers) northwest of Orlando. It shares some of its boundaries with Wekiwa Springs State Park and Rock Springs Run State Reserve. The Rock Springs Run, a 10-mile (16 km)-long tributary of the Wekiva River, has its source near the northern boundary of Kelly Park.

Much of the park is shaded by temperate-zone trees such as red maple, American sweetgum, several species of hickory and oak, and one of the southernmost natural populations of tulip tree. Many subtropical plants are also present with cabbage palmetto prominent among them. The forests are supported by poorly drained soils which have developed from marine sands and clays. The topsoils are usually dark gray or black fine sands which are acidic (slightly so in some cases). The gray or brownish gray subsoils range in texture from sand to sandy clay, and are less acid than the topsoils. Some are moderately alkaline with free calcium carbonate.

The park’s largest animals are alligator, white-tailed deer and possibly black bear. Many species of smaller animals also occur.


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