Black Mountain Open Space Park is currently 2,352 acres and brimming with stunning views, hiking trails and even old, forgotten mines. The highlight of the trip is the 1,554 foot summit of Black Mountain which offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding area.
A few fun facts I was able to gather from the internet or friends:
* The gliderport has been in use since the 1920's
* Before Black Mountain was called Black Mountain, it was called Cordero Mountain along with Carmel Valley which was Cordero Valley. The Cordero brothers were Spanish soldiers who accompanied Portola on his trek north which crossed the foot of the Valley July 16th 1769.
* The mountain is part of the Santiago Peak Volcanics which were a chain of volcanic islands formed 150 million years ago. Cowles mountain was also one of the islands.
Personal Experience: Boy did we get lucky. Right when we arrived two people were hang gliding down the mountain. Pretty cool! You will notice that the view is beautiful the moment you park. If you're out of shape, disabled, etc. and don't want to hike to the top, you could truly experience an enjoyable view just from the parking lot.
I can't speak for anyone but myself but I found the hike exhilarating, meaning not too tough and not too easy. The top is so rewarding too with a stunning view that (as of early 2015) has not been ruined too much from bulldozing and construction. It does appear that this may change in the near-future though which is pretty heartbreaking.
Look for this sign. This is where you turn in:
We were lucky to see a hanglider landing right when we got there!
You've got a bit of a climb to get to the actual gliderport so pace yourself accordingly!
We made it!
These photos are from two different trips: one in 2015, one in 2017. You may notice some differences with the view. As of 2017, it looks like they are more than ready to begin building in this area:
It was super foggy the last time we went. I loved it!