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The 5 Best Places to Fly a Drone in San Jose (2020)

A list of the best places to fly your drone in San Jose, California.

In this article, we’ve scouted out the best places to fly a drone in San Jose, California.

If you live in (or are traveling to) San Jose, please use this page as a resource to better understand not just where to fly, but also where it’s legal and illegal to fly a drone. We provide guidance on regulations to help you stay compliant with both federal and local rules.

fly drone San Jose

A Sectional Chart of the airspace surrounding San Jose, CA. Source: VFR Map

San Jose Drone Laws — Recreational vs. Commercial

The first thing to understand about flying a drone in San Jose (or any city for that matter) is that under federal FAA regulations, you are either operating recreationally or commercially.

Drone operators are no longer required to independently contact air traffic control when flying within five miles of an airport. Instead, both recreational and commercial flyers can use the automated LAANC system to request airspace authorization to fly in controlled airspace around and above many airports. If you’re operating in Class B, C, D, or E controlled airspace, you’ll need to request airspace authorization. You may do this through LAANC or through FAADroneZone in areas where LAANC is not available.

When we list locations below, we’ll share whether they sit in controlled or uncontrolled airspace.

Get up-to-date airspace information, including temporary flight restrictions, using tools like B4UFLY, Kittyhawk, or Airmap.

Interested in becoming an FAA-certified drone pilot so you can operate under the Part 107 regulations and make money flying your drone? Check out our industry-leading, online training course over at Drone Pilot Ground School.

So those are the federal rules.

But what about local San Jose drone laws?

Here’s a guide we put together for drone laws in California. Make sure to consult that to see if there are any local drone ordinances you should follow in San Jose. When in doubt, use good judgment and follow the FAA’s guidelines.

Note: The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel. If we missed something, or if you have further questions, please send an email to support[at]uavcoach[dot]com, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Where to Fly a Drone in San Jose

All of the locations listed below are Santa Clara County Parks, which require a permit for drone operations, click here for more information on SCCP permits. Please do not operate your drone at any of these locations without obtaining a permit.

Alrighty—without further ado, here are our top picks for the best places to fly a drone in the San Jose area. We selected these locations based on airspace restrictions, accessibility, and attractions. You’ll find that most of the locations we’ve chosen are located in uncontrolled, Class G airspace where you don’t need to request permission to fly. Additionally, we made sure to highlight any locations with designated sUAS/remote aircraft fields.

1 — Vasona Lake County Park (Permit Required)

333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

Vasona Lake County Park consists of over 152 acres and sits just outside of San Jose in Los Gatos, California. This location features stunning views of Vasona Lake when looking south the mountains in the distance can be seen peeking over the bridge that crosses the Los Gatos Creek. Not only will drone pilots appreciate the scenic views, but they will also enjoy the ample open green space.

fly drone Vasona Lake County Park

Source: Alexey Komarov

2 — Ed R. Levin County Park (Permit Required)

3100 Calaveras Rd, Milpitas, CA 95035

Ed R. Levin County Park is located just outside of San Jose in Milpitas, California. This unique property spans over 1,500 acres which features beautiful rolling hills and oak woodlands. It is also home to Monument Peak which stands at 2,598 feet tall and offers breathtaking views of the valley all the way to the San Francisco Bay. The numerous ponds located throughout the area create the perfect environment for cinematic drone footage.

fly drone Ed R. Levin County Park

Source: Don DeBold

3 — Almaden Quicksilver County Park (Permit Required)

21785 Almaden Rd, San Jose, CA 95120

Almaden QuickSilver County Park consists of over 4100 acres and is located just outside of downtown, San Jose, California. Its rich mining history extends back over 135 years and was once home to over 1800 miners. Today, many mining remnants can be found amongst the rolling hills throughout the park, which creates a stunning setting that any drone pilots would enjoy. With over 30-miles of walking paths, mature trees, and a reservoir, there is no shortage of footage opportunities.

Fly Drone Almaden Quicksilver County Park

Source: Allie_Caulfield

4 — Calero County Park (Permit Required)

23205 McKean Rd, San Jose, CA 95120

Calero County Park is located in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in San Jose, California. It offers the best of both worlds with stunning views of the Calero Reservoir and the California backcountry. The mountainous landscape around the park is covered with wildflowers and mature trees that create a truly picturesque setting. Drone pilots will enjoy over 4,400 acres of filming opportunities.

fly drone Calero County Park

Source: Fastily 

5 — Joseph D. Grant County Park (Permit Required)

18405 Mt Hamilton Rd, Mt Hamilton, CA 95140

Joseph D. Grant County Park is the largest Santa Clara County park with almost 11,000 acres of land. The east foothills of the valley consist of grasslands and mature oak trees. The extensive horse and hiking trails, in addition to cattle grazing, really create a beautiful rural setting. The park also features phenomenal views of Grant Lake. Drone pilots who are looking for an adventure will find that this location is ideal for getting that perfect shot.

fly drone Joseph D. Grant County Park

Source:  Grey3k 

Have Another Place You like to Fly Your Drone in San Jose?

We hope this list was helpful.

Do you have any other locations in San Jose where you like to fly your drone?

Let us know in our community forum over here: https://community.uavcoach.com/topic/6073-where-to-fly-a-drone-in-san-jose/

Take a Drone Flight Training Class in San Jose

If you’re new to drones or looking to take your flight skills to the next level, we offer hands-on drone flight training in the San Jose area. Our classes start at 2-hours long, and our expert instructors walk you through what to do before, during and after your flight—you’ll practice intelligent flight modes and learn how to stay safe but also how to get the shots or data you need. During the class, you’ll also get a chance to ask questions about regulations, software, flight operations management, checklists and more.

Sign up for a hands-on drone flight training class in San Jose.