The Manzanita Trail
is an extension of the Novitiate Trail
in the St. Joseph's Hill Preserve. Take the Jones Trail
from one of the parking areas to the Novitiate Trail
, and then continue on that trail for roughly .5 mile where the trail meets up with the Manzanita Trail
, which goes off to the right.
The trail remains level for the first .2 of a mile before it climbs quickly uphill and levels out again. Views of the surrounding hills and Lexington Reservoir spread out on the righthand side of the trail. Wildflowers and flowering bushes line the left side of the trail. The trail is a mix of dirt and gravel and remains wide as it climbs toward the summit of St. Joseph's Hill. Take an opportunity to enjoy the views as the trail climbs up the hillside. At .4 miles, the Serpentine Trail
cuts off to the left and provides an alternative route uphill. Some of the views are disrupted by power lines that run through the preserve.
At .5 miles, the trail begins to climb more steeply uphill as the trail moves away from Highway 17 and the reservoir. Passing .7 miles, the trail meets up again with the Serpentine Trail
and Range Trail
junction. The trail goes off to the right and climbs until it reaches the summit of St. Joseph's Hill. The views of the South Bay and the hills spread out before you, although they are partially obstructed. There is a bench and wooden fence where you can rest, and bikers can lean their bikes, before continuing downhill.
The trail begins to drop along the back side of the preserve, where you can get glimpses of homes just outside the park boundary. Circling around the hill, the trail passes the Upper Brothers Bypass Trail
and finally ends where the Lower Brothers Bypass Trail
and the Range Trail
intersect. From here, you can have several options to get back to the parking area.
You can take the Range Trail
back to the Novitiate Trail
or if you want to add some additional distance to your trip, take the Lower Brothers Bypass Trail
to meet up with the Novitiate Trail
deeper in the preserve, and then turn left to head back to the junction with the Manzanita and Jones Trail
In the spring, a wide variety of wildflowers and flowering plants can be seen along the trail.
Rabbits, lizards, and various species of birds can be seen and heard along the trail. Mountain Lions and bobcats have been reported in the preserve, so be on the lookout in the mornings and in the evenings. Rattlesnakes have been reported in the area as well, so be on the lookout on hot summer days.