Didja know that there are three Archery Ranges in Santa Clara County that are FREE and open to the public? They’re maintained by local clubs, with the County’s permission. The closest one to me is near Stevens Creek Reservoir, between Cupertino and Saratoga. https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/Activities/SportsFacilities/Pages/Archery.aspx
Find “Mt Eden Road” from the back of the Stevens Creek Reservoir or from Pierce Road, coming from Saratoga (past Garrod Farms and Cooper-Garrod Winery, which are also nice stops to rent a horse http://www.garrodfarms.com/ and sample some local wine http://www.cgv.com) and look on the uphill side of the road for the range. (The entrance is at N 37° 16.585 W 122° 04.177 if you’re a Map Geek. It’s about 1000 feet NW of the intersection of Mt Eden Rd and Orchard Meadow Dr.)
The range in Cupertino is nicely maintained by “Bowhunters Unlimited” http://bhuarchers.org/bow7/
There is a series of hay bales, with targets attached, at varying distances from the shady shelter, near the parking lot. “Porta Potties” too!
There’s also a “field course” of 32 targets, spread out across the steep hillside.
All the targets are safely backstopped against the hillside. With normal caution, often called-out by nearby signs, you can shoot from a wide range of distances.
The trail is steep in some places, and I did get briefly disoriented around #17 ~ #19, before I saw the “exit” sign behind me. Generally the course is well-marked and even has a few stations with bottled water and shady tables along the way.
…and views of the surrounding hills
If you’re interested, it’s open to the public to come in and look around. If you decide to try archery, there are shops in Gilroy (http://www.predatorsarchery.com/) and one up in San Mateo County. A beginner’s kit will run you around $200 for a reasonable bow, arrows, a quiver, a finger guard and a wrist guard (http://www.predatorsarchery.com/in-store.shtml#bow-packages) (No, I don’t know them or get a kickback if you buy anything!). Those shops can set you up with some lessons, or Bowhunters Unlimited can do the same for free at the range (http://bhuarchers.org/bow7/lessons). Give it a try!
FOOTNOTE on the California drought: I stopped at the nearby Stevens Creek Reservoir back in March and was happy to see that it was almost full…about a foot below the spillway on the dam.
This past week, 6 dry months later, the level was a (very sad) 10 feet down. Can we have some rain…please?!?