Take in a view of the hills from the Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos. Beside Blossom Hill with the coastal range rising behind it, homes here enjoy a beautiful backdrop and nature close by with plenty of access to parks and trails. But the beauty and nature is only one part of the wonderful neighborhood.
Despite its quiet charm, this neighborhood is anything but rural. Easy access and practicality are another major draw. Both the freeway and plenty of shopping are within a mile, and shopping on The Boulevard (Los Gatos Boulevard) is only a little farther (about 2 miles by car). A pedestrian friendly area with sidewalks and tree lined streets, Strathmore is a popular spot for locals to stroll, walk dogs, jog, bike or otherwise enjoy a little of California’s pleasant climate.
There is a small pocket of Los Gatos with Los Gatos High School (Los Gatos schools) close to Ace Hardware and Live Oak Manor Park just off of Los Gatos-Almaden Road and Los Gatos Boulevard. It’s sometimes called the Live Oak Manor neighborhood. Some may call it the Carlton area, after the major street that runs through it. I have heard Realtors refer to it as “the Garcia tract” after the main builder in that neighborhood. For our purposes, I’ll call it the Live Oak Manor Park & west Carlton area to distinguish other parts of Carlton which have a different school district (Union School District) or are in the Cambrian area of San Jose.
Live Oak Manor Park & west Carlton area: location, location, location
This area is super convenient for commuters. It’s only about a half mile to the on ramp to Highway 17, and about 1 mile to Highway 85. If the freeway is backed up, it’s easy enough to get to alternate routes, such as Highway 9 or San Tomas Expressway. For those who work at Good Samaritan Hospital or one of the nearby medical offices, work is a short walk or bike ride away.
It’s not so close to downtown Los Gatos that it gets socked in with beach traffic on summer weekends. It’s easy to get to restaurants and shops along Los Gatos Boulevard, a short jaunt to the Los Gatos Creek Trail, and a quick trip to get to the JCC on Oka Road. Need groceries? Nob Hill is only a half mile away, as is the Los Gatos Cafe Uptown, Una Mas, and several other tempting destinations.
A huge plus, of course, are the highly regarded Los Gatos schools. This area is a little less expensive than nearby neighborhoods such as Blossom Manor to the south.
For many, being close to a neighborhood park is another important perk – a place to run the dogs, for kids to play, or just to get out of the house without needing a car.
Something else that should be noted is that this is a scenic pocket and most of the streets are tree lined, making it a pleasant place to be even if none of the neighborhood amenities are enjoyed.
In the far northwest corner of the town of Los Gatos sits a small, picturesque community, Arroyo Rinconada (Cats Creek Corner), consisting of three streets and 41 homes: Casa Grande (Big House), Rio Visa (River View), and Sierra Linda (Beautiful Mountain Range).
What are homes like in Arroyo Rinconada?
The neighborhood features Spanish style architecture and red tiled roofs and gently curving roads with loads of nearby trees, making the area scenic and charming.
The two story townhomes were all built in 1984, with square footage at 1280 SF (2 bed, 2 bath model), 2152 SF (3 bed 3 bath model), and 2319 SF (3 bed 3 bath model). Average square footage is 2131 SF. These homes all enjoy attached 2 car garages. Lots range 1372 SF to 2427 SF, with the average land area being 2152 square feet.
The house is on Casa Grande (“Big House”). It was built in 1935 with about 2600 SF but has been expanded to 3090 SF. Sitting on top of a knoll with a 55,000 SF lot, it sold a couple of years ago for more than $2 million.
Where is Arroyo Rinconada?
Arroyo Rinconada is set next to the corner of Quito and Pollard Roads in the northeast end of the town of Los Gatos, which are the borders for Saratoga (Quito) and Campbell (Pollard).
Rinconada Hills, which sits on the northwest side of Los Gatos, adjacent to Saratoga and Cambpell, is a resort-like community with many luxurious amenities. It is one of the few gated communities anywhere in Silicon Valley, and one of the largest in the greater San Jose area.
Built in stages between 1968 and 1981, the homes here were built by Brown & Kaufmann in 5 different sections. The campus is quite large, 107 acres (almost as big as Vasona Lake County Park) and includes 394 townhomes (see floorplans here) and 40 houses, or single family homes. Approximately 1,000 people live here (in a town of about 30,000). Most everyone in LG knows someone who lives at Rinconada Hills!
The campus includes a remodeled clubhouse (Great Room, library alcove, commercial kitchen, lockers, showers), 10 pools (1 at the clubhouse), spa, and 3 tennis courts. The residents may utilize an extra parking lot for cars or the RV lot for boats/ trailers etc. – though there is a waiting list for that. Additonally, there are 3 ponds plus a lake, and great views to be enjoyed while walking up the hill in the private grounds.
What are homes like at Rinconada Hills?
All of the homes, whether townhouses or single family homes, have stucco exteriors and tiled roofs, although there’s quite a bit of diversity within the areas and styles. Home sizes range from small 2 bedroom townhouses to large 3000 + SF homes on big lots with views. There’s a little bit of everything, but a typical residence might be an 1800 SF 2 story townhouse with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an attached 2 car garage. There are a few single story townhomes as well as single story houses, though.
Just west and south of the intersection of Blossom Hill Road and Harwood Road sits a neighborhood of Los Gatos homes with three subdivisions: Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos & Surmont. Nearby public landmarks are Belgatos Park and the Walgreen’s shopping center (corner of Blossom Hill and Harwood), with a Mountain Mike’s Pizza and a Starbucks coffee shop.
For many Los Gatans, all three of these east Los Gatos areas (and sometimes a broader one still) are generally referred to as “Belwood” or “Belwood-Belgatos.” (The Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police cert map identifies the whole region plus the Strathmore neighborhood, which is across Blossom Hill Road, as “Belwood” generally.)
The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses, it’s a very attractive neighborhood overall. For those looking for an arduous climb on foot or bike, though, Harwood Road provides a nice challenge. At the top, you’ll see a fantastic view of downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley for your trouble. (There are some challenges to be found in the open space trails, too.)
Belgatos Park and trails
At the middle of this community is the very inviting Belgatos Park, a scenic, setting which includes a playground near the parking lot, picnic areas, restrooms, trails into the hills (with some wonderful valley views), and access to the Heinz Open Space Preserve and its network of trails also. (And it’s not far to the Santa Rosa Open Space area either.)
One hill attracts kids who enjoy sliding down it on bits of cardboard, and thus has been nicknamed “cardboard hill” for decades. Most of the time these cardboard sledding enthusiasts are pretty good about picking up their “sledding vehicles” when done.
The paths are popular with people on foot, but also those on mountain bikes or horseback. As there are a few larger properties which are zoned for horses in the area, this is a very nice equestrian option.
For photographers, the park has abundant worthy subjects year round, both of the open space and the valley views below. In the early morning hours, or near sunset, you may see some deer too. But be careful: bobcats and mountain lions are in these hills also.
What are homes like in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont?
The Town of Los Gatos is about 11 square miles and is comprised of dozens of neighborhoods in various parts of town, with different schools, zip codes, price points, plusses and minuses. Here on the Live in Los Gatos blog there have been many, many real estate articles devoted Los Gatos neighborhoods. Below please find links to neighborhood posts with descriptions and photos, primarily on “Live in Los Gatos” but in some cases on one of my other sites.
(More neighborhoods to come as time permits – I have about 25 on my list. Want your subdivision included? Please email me and I will put it on the To Do list!)
I’m also adding neighborhood videos as I am driving through town. They aren’t professional grade, but they will give a good sense to newcomers of what various neighborhoods are like. You can see them on my YouTube channel too.
If you are new to Silicon Valley, you may be wondering “where is Los Gatos California?” I’ll give you a quick answer and some visual cues via a map on the town’s location:
In the 9 county San Francisco Bay Area, Los Gatos is located within Santa Clara County, which is considered the “South Bay” region
Santa Clara County’s largest city is San Jose (a city of about 1 million people, in the county of about 1.9 million residents), which Los Gatos borders on the southwest side (San Jose touches the bay at Alviso). Los Gatos is small by comparison, with about 30,000 inhabitants.
Los Gatos is nestled into the base of the coastal foothills, also known as the Santa Cruz Mountains. With the backdrop of the hills, it’s quite scenic.
In town, the zip codes are 95030 and 95032, both of which are shared with the city of Monte Sereno. The Los Gatos Mountains area is unincorporated and is the 95033 zip code (not shown on the map below).
Los Gatos California includes about 10 square miles for the incorporated area (and many, many more if you are talking about the mountains and zip code 95033). Where is Los Gatos California? Really depends on what you mean, in town, or in the mountains!
Downtown Los Gatos is about 30 minutes from the beach at Santa Cruz, depending on traffic.
The Civic Center for the town of Los Gatos is marked in the map below with the white star in the red circle:
Obviously, the town encompasses far more than the Civic Center location! Here’s a map of Los Gatos by region – sweeping generalizations intended only to provide an overall sense of where to find what.
Downtown Los Gatos runs primarily along Main Street, N Santa Cruz Avenue, and University Avenue, but also part of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road (Highway 9).
Within the town, there are a number of districts and neighborhoods, many of which also have businesses, though they are largely residential.
East Los Gatos & West Los Gatos: East Los Gatos is generally considered the area east of Los Gatos Boulevard, though some people attest that anything east of Highway 17 would be the east end of town. There are many popular neighborhoods within that area, including Blossom Manor, Vista Del Monte, the Alta Vista Area, Strathmore, and Belwood – Belgatos – Surmont, among others. Please navigate through the menu under “neighborhoods” to explore these and many other areas.
West Los Gatos is generally closer to the Campbell and Saratoga borders and includes Rinconada Hills, the Old Adobe Road area, Los Gatos Woods (townhouse community near Pollard Road) and many others.
North Los Gatos is not as well defined as other area, but generally is close to Lark Avenue.
The Los Gatos Mountains are an unincorporated place in Santa Clara County with a Los Gatos mailing address. This can be a bit confusing, especially since some of this region is over Saratoga or on the far side of the summit and in Santa Cruz County.