The Los Gatos Mountains (or Santa Cruz Mountains) are a specialty area that I work in and live in. In fact, we've raised our children in this very community so I know it well.
The mountains between San Jose and Santa Cruz – the coastal range – is home to a number of communities such as Chemeketa Park, Holy City, Aldercroft Heights, the Lexington Reservoir area (the town of Lexington is under the reservoir now!), Alma, Redwood Estates (Upper Redwood Estates, Lower Redwood Estates) and more. The mountains are both in Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County where employees from Silicon Valley go to get away from busy city life.
There are many pluses to living in the Los Gatos Mountains: clean air, more open space (less crowding), beautiful vistas, great schools (top rated public schools), and lower housing costs. It’s a fabulous place if you have horses or just love more space. The folks who live in the hills absolutely love their communities and homes.
The Santa Cruz Mountains have been a legally defined American Viticultural Area since 1981. Wine has been produced here since at least the 1840s. The Santa Cruz Mountain AVA has emerged as premier producer of top wines. There are over 30 wineries located in this area.
The Santa Cruz Mountains are home to an unusual abundance of parks and protected open spaces, notable among them is California's oldest state park: Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Other state parks include Castle Rock State Park, Portola Redwoods State Park, Butano State Park, The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, McNee Ranch State Park and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park with its famous Redwood Grove walking trail. Additional land is protected by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, the Peninsula Open Space Trust. Hiking, horse-riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, and backpacking are popular activities. There are two long-distance trails in the range: the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, which winds 38 miles (58 km) from Castle Rock State Park through Big Basin to the Pacific Ocean, and the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which, while still disjointed, here roughly parallels Skyline Boulevard along the spine of the range. There also exist several backcountry campsites in many of the state parks that enable long distance multi-day outings. Castle Rock State Park has open rock faces suitable for rock climbing and bouldering.
West Valley and Cabrillo Community Colleges are on either side of the hill. DeAnza College is in nearby Cupertino. San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, and Stanford University, are also close by. University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco, and University of California, Santa Cruz are also conveniently accessible.
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