Kennedy - Limekiln Area Loop

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Trail Distance: 14 miles
Time Estimate: 7 hr +
Elevation Gain: 2000 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Hard
Parking: Free
Route Type: Loop
Restroom: Limited
Description

With a trailhead just 3 miles from the center of Los Gatos, the Kennedy-Limekiln Loop makes exploring the wilderness feel almost convenient. "Los Gatos" might mean "the cats," but we're pretty sure this landscape was designed with doggos in mind. Maybe not lazy lap-dogs, though: Kennedy-Limekiln is a lengthy loop in rugged terrain. 

Tucked away in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, this scenic hike through California chaparral is a challenging and scenic way to wear out your energetic pups. Strike out along the Kennedy Trail from the small parking area off Kennedy Road. You'll pass the turn-off for Priest Rock Trail in about 4 miles, but keep going another 1.4 miles to veer right onto Limekiln Trail. Follow the Limekiln for approximately 3 miles, then take another right onto Priest Rock Trail, which will lead you back to Kennedy Trail for a full round trip that's a little over 13 miles.

Restrooms are available in Sierra Azul, including a rustic facility at the trailhead: schedule a pit-stop before embarking on your hike. Mountain bikers love this trail, so keep an ear tuned for speedy traffic coming up from behind. You might want to skip the earbuds and focus on your buddies instead. 

Before you experiment with alternate routes, note that the Mount Umunhum section of the Sierra Azul is closed to dogs — even very, very good boys. This dog-free zone begins at the Kennedy-Limekiln intersection, where the Kennedy Trail becomes the Woods Trail. Stick to Kennedy and Limekiln and keep your puppers on the right side of the law. (Side note: We extend our sympathies to Woods Trail hikers and their sad, lonely hiking experience. What's a trail without a dog, right?)

Though you can't climb Mount Umunhum, among the highest in the Santa Cruz Range, there are furrific views of its majestic peak from the Kennedy-Limekiln Loop. You'll also glimpse valley vistas from open hillside and songbirds strutting in the tree canopy. On a clear day, you can admire the San Francisco skyline to the north and miles of rolling green hills to the south.

Trail Features
Mountains, Steep Inclines
Wildflowers, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
This is rugged, all-day journey, and no drinking water is available along the trail's length. Make sure you carry enough to keep your pups and self safe and hydrated! Coyote encounters are common along the Kennedy-Limekiln Loop (and there are even occasional bobcat sightings), so keep Fido and Fifi on leash and far away from any wildlife you see.
Address
Intersection of Kennedy Road & Top of the Hill Road
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset
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Address
Intersection of Kennedy Road & Top of the Hill Road
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset