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Byrne Trail

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Byrne Trail to Leonard Battle Trail to Byrne Trail to Rattlesnake Trail
2.5 miles; 1 hour 30 min; moderate

Though you could probably flash this trail, you would be wise to take your time and look around. Not only is the natural scenery beautiful, but you won’t want to miss any of the works of art tucked away here and there.

From the parking lot, walk a half-mile along the fairly wide, flat Byrne Trail. You will see a sculpture of three wooden bears at the intersection. Take the Leonard Battle Trail to the right, which is much narrower and goes downhill. Running parallel to the trail, you’ll notice what looks like a sprinkler system. This is the central water system for the park, and in fact you will pass a bathtub that is the central hub of the system—another odd detail about the park.

Just after the bathtub is the “Cathedral,” a resting spot with a bench. Underneath the bench is a box containing a guestbook where you can read other visitors’ thoughts or write down your own. Some people’s entries are poems, while others have contributed stream-of-consciousness musings. Right next to the Cathedral is the shrine, which contains several mementos left by visitors (some over a decade old).

Continue back up the hill where the trail intersects with the Byrne Trail once again (and widens). Don’t miss the wooden eagle resting on the tree stump right before the intersection. Continue uphill another half mile to AJ’s Point of View, where you’ll get a spectacular view of Watsonville. AJ’s Point of View also has a guestbook. And instead of standard park benches, it’s furnished with a mishmash of old school desks, thrift store tables and hand-carved benches. It has a nice hodgepodge, artistic feel to it. Sometimes Helmer (pictured here at AJ's Point of View) even leaves a bowl of apples here for visitors to enjoy.

Follow Rattlesnake Trail back a short quarter-mile downhill, and you’ll be back at the parking lot surprisingly quickly.

—Aaron Carnes

Return to Byrne-Milliron Forest Preserve.