Moms RUN San Jose

For Moms who run, by Moms who run…Moms RUN this Town!

The Dish on the Stanford Dish

on July 30, 2012

I had heard about the Stanford Dish about 5 minutes after I stepped off the plane when I first came to visit Silicon Valley.  It’s a definite “must-see” in the San Jose area.  Last week, I finally ran the Stanford Dish.  It was my 2nd time there (I had walked it the 1st time) and this time, I was alone with no jogging stroller so I was really able to appreciate the ups and downs of this local attraction.  While there is no shade at all, the elevation can bring some gentle gusts of wind to cool you down.  You also can create quite a breeze yourself gunning it on the downhills.   The views from the top are also really spectacular!

From the entrance, you are greeted by a hill that, at first, looks unassuming.  Don’t be fooled!  This hill is tough and will make you huff and puff (at least, it did for me about half-way up)! And it’s only the first of many!

Entrance at Stanford Dish

Doesn’t look that tough does it? Don’t be fooled!!

I lost track of how many ups and downs there are as you circumnavigate The Dish.  The park ranger I spoke with said the distance around was about  4 miles.  The day I went, I wasn’t able to go all the way around due to some construction activity at one end.  I did an out and back run from the entrance to the satellite dish that this trail is named for and it was about 4 miles per my MotoActv.

The trail is paved but not marked.  There are actually two satellite dishes – a small one and a larger one.  There is a path on one side of the larger dish that you can run on. I went down this trail for a bit then turned back.  From the entrance (after the hill), you can turn either left or right – left goes up hill, right goes downhill.  Again – don’t be fooled!  If you turn right, it goes down hill for a while then it starts going up again – quite steeply!  If you turn left, it continues to go up, but then levels off for a bit (to let you enjoy the fabulous view) before the hills/valleys start up again.  This is definitely  a great place to do a hill workout! No matter which direction you take at the start, since the path just circles around, you end up at the top of that entrance hill.  If you turn right after the entrance hill and run that way around, you can see the beautiful view of San Jose and the Bay better – since you will be facing it as you run around to the start.

What I liked about the Stanford Dish Trail:

1) Beautiful views!!  Totally worth the climb!

2) Paved trail.  And it’s in a circle so you can’t get lost! =)

3) Great hill workout – be sure the next day is a rest day for you – you’re gonna need it!  If you’re pushing a stroller, BONUS workout for your arms and back.

4) Enough people on the trail that it doesn’t feel isolated but not so much that you’re dodging people left and right.

5) Running back down the hill to the corner of Junipero Serra and Stanford Ave – you can gain so much speed, it’s like you’re almost flying (or almost about to take a header into the dirt)!  I hit a 7:30 min/mile pace at one point, then slowed myself down – who did I think I was, Paula Radcliffe?

What I don’t like about the Stanford Dish Trail:

1) Not shady! Be sure to use your sunscreen and have good sun cover for your little one in the stroller.

2) Bold (ground) squirrels – these critters are EVERYWHERE!! They will skitter in front of you as you’re cresting a hill, breaking your stride.  They chase each other around like it’s squirrel tag day and don’t give two hoots about running right in front of you.  Yes, some people may thing they’re cute, but I am not one of them. There are also a lot of birds, but thankfully, no bird poop (especially geese poop) like on other trails I’ve been.

3) Not long enough – yes, almost 4 miles of hills should be enough but when I ran it, I totally felt like I could have done more.  Maybe it was because of the views or because I was in a great mood or because of how fast I felt running the downhills – whatever it was, I didn’t feel wiped out at all!

That is, until the next day….


Here are some other websites about the Stanford Dish with some great pictures and reviews:

– Information from the Stanford University Website about the Dish

– The Stanford Running club has a really in-depth review of the Dish.  They also have alternate routes that increase the mileage. has great reviews and pictures of the Dish.  They’re also a great site for other trails in the area. provides a review based on on it’s stroller-friendliness.  They’re also a great (free) hiking group in the area that holds meet ups for moms and others for weekly hikes.


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