Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area

Update (March 19, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • All day use facilities are now open to the public.
  • Camping is open.
  • The park’s Visitor Center is now open.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(831) 637-3874

Park Hours

Red Sticker Operation: OPEN October 1 through May 31. Closed June 1 through September 31.
Hours: Open 365 days a year. Vehicle operation and day use is from sunrise to sunset
Fees: Day Use $5 per vehicle. Camping $10 per vehicle per night

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dog are allowed on leash in day use and camping areas. Dogs are allowed in the Nature Area and Mudstone Ranch.

Driving Directions to Hollister Hills SVRA

Hollister Hills SVRA has multiple entrances located along Cienega Road in Hollister – the main entrance to pay fees and receive a gate combination if needed is at 7800 Cienega Road, Hollister CA 95023. (To read more about the 4x4 park and how the gates work, visit our 4x4 Recreation Page.)

The park is located approximately 5 miles south of the town of Hollister. From Union Road, head south on Cienega Road. At stop sign, make a right to continue on Cienega Road. Drive approximately 4 miles; the main entrance is on the right. The park is divided into different areas based on the type of recreation (motorcycle & ATV, four-wheeled vehicles, and non-motorized.) Each area has a separate entrance located along Cienega Road.

Camping and Lodging

Camping Reservation System coming SOON. To learn more, visit our camping site.

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Off-Highway Vehicles
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Camp Store
Parking
Restrooms / Showers
Drinking Water Available

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NEW text alert system - to opt-in to receive text messages on your mobile phone regarding park updates, text "hollisterhills" to 74121

Current Trail/Weather Conditions

Hollister Hills Weather Monitoring Station

OPEN

  • Lower Ranch (motorcycle & ATV) - Adobe, Renz, Granitic (See map)
  • Upper Ranch (4x4)
  • Hudner Ranch (4x4)

 

CLOSED (For public safety and natural resource, everything on Adobe Clay soil closes when wet due to its unique slick nature.)

Welcome to Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area

Hollister Hills State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA) is California State Parks’ first SVRA. Located in the Gabilan Mountains, just an hour’s drive south from San Jose, this unique SVRA features over 6,800 acres of scenic and varied terrain. Visitors are drawn to the natural beauty of the park’s oak woodlands, rolling hills, lush canyons, and seasonal creeks with elevations ranging from 660 feet to 2,425 feet. Hollister Hills SVRA offers numerous off-highway vehicle (OHV) opportunities as well as designated hiking, bicycling, and equestrian trails.

The park straddles the San Andreas Fault. The North American tectonic plate (North East side) consists of clay-rich adobe soil with rolling hills covered in grassland and oak woodlands. The Pacific tectonic plate (South West) consists of granitic soil with steeper terrain with pine, sage, and chaparral taking root in the sandy soil. The Pacific and North American tectonic plates have been sliding past each other for 30 million years at a current rate of about 1.5 inches per year. To read more about this geological gem, click here.

Howard Harris created the foundation of what today is known as Hollister Hills SVRA. Howard’s great grandfather, Jesse Whitton, was a civilian surveyor for the John C. Fremont expedition that traveled through the area in 1846. After the expedition, Jesse Whitton returned to the area and successfully purchased 600 acres for $50 per acre. The land was passed on through the family and finally to Howard Harris in 1959, who became the last private owner of the property. In the following years, Howard purchased more of the surrounding properties and built many of the park’s trails and roads. He used the land for a number of activities including mining, farming, ranching, hunting, scientific studies, and OHV recreation.

OHVs were first used on the ranch in 1947 when Howard established the Bird Creek Hunting Club. Jeeps, motorcycles, and “tote-goats” were used for transportation to get around the ranch. During the 1950s, private OHV activities were held and by 1970, the ranch was officially opened for public OHV recreation. Howard managed the land as a motorcycle park until October 1, 1975, when the land was sold to the State of California and became Hollister Hills SVRA.