Neil Wiley

The first question might be what is a “Nibbs Knob.” In this case, the “knob” is something between a hill and a mountain. It looks like a mountain as drawn by a child, a rounded dome covered with trees. Then again, the knob might get its name from the many knobcone pines that live there.

The name “Nibbs” comes from a man named Henry Knibb, who was granted a homestead patent for this knob in 1891. Don’t ask me why, but somewhere, somehow the “k” in Knibb was lost, so now it is just Nibbs.

Nibbs Knob is a 2964-foot high knob east of Loma Prieta mountain, and located in the southwest corner of Uvas Canyon County Park. In some ways, it is easy to reach. The Summit Road entrance is only eight miles from the Summit Center store. Once at the entrance, the walk to Nibbs Knob is relatively short—about 6/10 of a mile.

But before setting out on your search for Nibbs Knob, you should know a few dirty details. As you drive east on Summit, the road becomes Highland, then Mt. Bache, then Loma Prieta Way, and then after you reach an unpaved section, it becomes Summit again. With each name change, the road becomes rougher. In fact, for my old Corvette, the last few miles were a challenging trail requiring speeds under ten miles an hour. Nevertheless, it is passable. You’ll be glad, however, when you see the small red park entrance gate on the left side of the road. You’ll know you are there, because at this point the public road becomes gated and private.

The walk down to the Nibbs Knob trail is pleasant and shaded. You may notice some grapevines planted by Mr. Knibb long ago. Wild cherries and toyon berries peek through forests of bay, oak and madrone. At 2/10 of a mile, you reach a trail that takes you up the side of the knob. Although uphill, it winds around up a relatively easy grade past the remnants of a Henry Knibb olive orchard. At the top, I was surprised to find a single wooden table, a nice shady place to have lunch, especially on a warm day. The views from the top, however, are obscured by heavy brush, so I recommend walking back down to the main trail, then turning left to go deeper into the canyon.

The main trail takes you around the side of the knob, disclosing some impressive views of Uvas Canyon, South Bay, Mount Hamilton and the Diablo Range. One trails book claims that you can see Half Dome in Yosemite. I couldn’t.

As you walk down into the canyon, the trail descends sharply over chaparral-covered slopes. If you keep walking, you’ll reach the main entrance of the park on Croy Road. I thought about it; the walk is only about two and a half miles. I could then hike the popular waterfall loop—a 3.25 mile loop that takes you to Swanson and Alec Creeks.

As I walked deeper into the canyon, I thought about the climb back up 2,000 feet to Summit Road, but like most hikers, I wanted to reach some destination before turning back. Fortunately, I found a reason to stop.

About half way down the trail, I discovered a covered bench. It had been built as an Eagle Scout project by Josh Cruse. Here was an opportunity to sit with back support, eat lunch and then take a nap. Josh Cruse had given me a sign. This time, I would stop here. Thank you, Josh.

The walk up was slow, and I often stopped to admire the view and stop my puffing. I enjoyed the scenery, the exercise and the solitude. I didn’t see another person And the only noise was a steady breeze. Bicycles and horses aren’t allowed. Elapsed time, including lunch and a short nap: three hours.

The walk to Nibbs Knob is a walk worth taking.

(c) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 mountain network news All rights reserved.