The Ramohs Pacific Railroad once ran through the foothills off of Blossom Hill Road in East Los Gatos. Today there are hiking trails in the Heintz Open Space Preserve (behind the Heritage Grove neighborhood put up by SummerHill Homes in about the year 2000).
Recommended reading on the Ramohs Pacific Railroad
If you enjoy Los Gatos history, you will love this in depth look at the Ramohs Pacific Railroad by Derek Whaley on his Santa Cruz Trains website:
RM Heintz Miniature Railroad on the Santa Cruz Trains site.
Related reading on Los Gatos history
Cheeky Los Gatos article from 1892 (on this website)
Los Gatos and the 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic: Part 1 (this site)
Hooker Gulch in the Los Gatos Mountains (this site)
Ming Quong: a Los Gatos Monument (this site)
The Los Gatos History Project (NUMU)
The Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood in east Los Gatos is a tidy community at the base of the hills and close to beautiful Belgatos Park. It includes 4 subdivisions which all share access to the Belwood of Los Gatos cabana. They include:
- Surmont, the oldest section of the neighborhood, with semi custom homes (“Class D” optional cabana membership)
- Belgatos, which was built next and is on the west side of Belgatos Road (“Class D” optional cabana membership)
- Belwood of Los Gatos, a large tract neighborhood with the cabana at its heart (mandatory cabana membership, many homes now extensively remodeled or rebuilt)
- A small subdivision with 14 homes built between 1977 and 1979 that wasn’t given a name, unfortunately: Tract 5921 (10 homes) and Lots A – D. (“Class D” optional cabana membership)
Where is the Belwoood, Belgatos, and Surmont neighborhood?
The community is located on the south side of Blossom Hill Road, generally between Westhill Drive and Harwood Road.
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 newly added cake shop.
There’s a fair amount of confusion about what is or isn’t in this neighborhood or who can use or join the pool. Adding to the location confusion, 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.
What are the schools for this neighborhood?
The public schools for this area are Noddin Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High School.
What’s the neighborhood like?
The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. 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.
With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses as a rule (there are only a very few exceptions). It is a very attractive neighborhood overall.
Some streets have sidewalks, but many do not. There are not a lot of street lamps, which makes for wonderful night sky viewing.
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. There are 2 nearby places for horse boarding, too.
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 this part of town?
The 24th annual Fantasy of Lights show at Vasona Lake County Park begins soon! Occasionally people call me to ask about it – please note that I do not run the event – I am only posting information about it. Full info can be found on the county’s park website, linked below.
24th annual Fantasy of Lights:
Get your tickets now, they sell out fast! Entry with prepaid tickets only!
What: The Fantasy of Lights
Walk-thru Weekend Dec 3 & 4, 2022 from 4 to 9 pm
Drive-thru Nights Dec 6 – 30, 2022 with 30 minute slots from 6pm to 9:30pm
Open rain or shine. As always, the Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day (Dec 25).
Where: Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road (near University Avenue) Los Gatos, CA
How much: Tickets must be purchased in advance available online through EventBrite.
Walk through cost is $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 4 – 12, and free for 3 and under (tickets still required for free entry!)
Drive through cost is $20 per regular vehicle (up to 12 passenger capacity), $50 per oversized vehicle (13+ passenger capacity).
Please visit the Santa Clara County Parks page for the Fantasy of Lights to get more information and updates on this event.
Please check the county’s page for this event.
More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event. Please contact the SCC Parks Dept and check out their website for the Fantasy of Lights! The Vasona phone number is (408) 355-2201.
Please visit Live in Los Gatos for year round events, neighborhood information, photos around the town, interesting real estate market data, haunted places and the occasional historical tidbit.
Los Gatos is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays, but it’s also a great place to live year round! If you are interested in buying a home in Los Gatos (or selling one), please contact me, Mary Pope-Handy (contact information in the sidebar). I’m both a Realtor based in the Town of Los Gatos and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy and sell homes here and throughout the west valley and greater Silicon Valley communities.
If you aren’t familiar with the area, here are a few things to know!
Buy a home in Los Gatos (info on neighborhoods, school districts, homes for sale to browse online, links to important local sites & info)
Relocating and buying a house in Los Gatos
Los Gatos real estate on Facebook
Monthly Los Gatos real estate market update
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses
Fairview Plaza feels like a step back in time – and in many ways, it is. This little neighborhood is so quaint and unique that it seems perfect for a movie set. Located close to downtown and equally close to huge expanses of open space, it enjoys its own park, has an interesting history and is enough off the beaten path that it goes largely undisturbed.
In 1880, Frank McCullough came to Los Gatos and bought 166 acres of prime real estate. From that land, in 1915 he donated a parcel to become a park, now Fairview Plaza Park. At one time it included playground equipment and a bird sanctuary too. Today it’s a little more congested with cars on the street, but it’s still quite pleasant. This little park is the heart of the neighborhood.
Have a look at the video that Clair and I did in 2014 to get a feel for the area, then continue reading for more info on this corner of Los Gatos.
(And if you liked this video, please see http://www.YouTube.com/popehandy for more videos of Los Gatos neighborhoods.)
The Glenridge and Bachman Park neighborhood of Los Gatos is one of the most scenic residential areas anywhere in Silicon Valley. It features beautiful, custom, mostly historic homes on meandering streets.
Set just above the Almond Grove neighborhood on a gentle hill it, too, is close to town but with a little more altitude and better vistas. The other nearby neighbor is the Fairview Plaza. So much history in such a close area!
These are really two separate neighborhoods or districts, but they are similar in many ways and are directly adjacent to each other, so we are covering them together.
Bachman Park is set in in the middle of this area and includes several acres alongside a creek. The park offers picnic tables, a playground, basketball courts and a large grassy field for picnics or play. A paved path follows the creek on one side of it – making a wonderful place just for strolling. (Bachman Park refers to both the park and its immediate neighborhood.)
Where is the Glenridge and Bachman Park neighborhood?
This charming older Los Gatos neighborhood is set just up the hill from the Almond Grove Historic District and adjacent to Fairview Plaza. (more…)
This Saturday, experience the Los Gatos Park for Parks event at Belgatos Park from ten a.m. to one p.m.
Enjoy live music from Alex Lucero & The Live Again Band (several music genres), learn about hiking, mountain biking, birdwatching and more. Meet the members of the Los Gatos Parks Commission and check out the many booths.
Do bring your own lunch – the town’s event website does not suggest that the Los Gatos Park for Parks event includes any food or beverage booths.
Please click the link above to get all the specifics.
Belgatos Park is a large and gorgeous open space with a playground, restrooms, and trails. If you’ve never been, this is the perfect time to visit!
Los Gatos Park for Parks:
Saturday, Oct 23, 10 – 1
Free event, bring your lunch!