Welcome to the breathtaking beauty of Almaden Quicksilver County Park, a historical gem and a nature lover’s paradise. With a past deeply rooted in California’s mining history and a present filled with natural splendor, the park offers an enriching and invigorating experience for all visitors.For over 135 years, the park was the center of intense mining activities and a home to more than 1,800 miners and their families. Today, it stands as a testament to those times, with remnants of the mining era providing an intriguing glimpse into the past.
Location and Accessibility
Almaden Quicksilver County Park is nestled in the southern side of San Jose, in the quaint town of New Almaden Valley. It covers an expansive area of 4,163 acres, enveloping the majority of Capitancillos Ridge.
The park can be accessed through three main entrances:
Mockingbird Hill entrance: Accessible from Mockingbird Hill Lane, this entrance welcomes all users, including bicyclists.
Hacienda entrance: Situated at the southern end of New Almaden, this entrance also accommodates all users, including bicyclists.
Wood Road entrance: This entrance is accessed off Wood Road, primarily for those arriving from Highway 85.
For your convenience, here are the directions to the park.
Activities: From Hiking and Biking to Picnicking
The park is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering over 37 miles of hiking trails, 30 miles of equestrian trails, and 16.6 miles of bike trails. The trails are also open to pet owners who wish to walk their dogs, albeit on a leash.
For those looking to unwind, the park features numerous picnic tables scattered throughout the area. Horse water troughs are available in a few locations. However, potable water is only available at the Hacienda and Mockingbird Hill entrances.
The park is also a treasure trove for history buffs, with remnants of mining structures adding to its charm. For safety reasons, visitors are requested not to climb on any structures.
New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
The New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, open year-round, offers fascinating insights into the history of mercury mining in New Almaden and the mining communities that thrived here.
Public Programs, School Programs, and Events
For a more immersive experience, you can avail of custom guided nature walks, history walks, and tours of the mining museum. For more information and to submit a request, please visit the Custom Programs & Tours webpage.
To stay updated on public programs and events at Almaden Quicksilver and other Santa Clara County Parks, check out the Events Calendar.
Please note that fishing in the park follows a catch-and-release policy due to the presence of mercury in the Guadalupe and Almaden Reservoirs. The consumption of fish from these reservoirs is considered unsafe. For any queries related to mercury and its effects, please contact the County’s Environmental Health Services at (408) 918-3400.
Online Historical Collections
Don’t forget to explore our online historical collections to view photos, documents, and artifacts related to Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
Hours and Fees
The park is open to visitors year-round from 8:00 a.m. until sunset. No fees are required at any of the entrances.
In line with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (‘ADA’), the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to providing equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. If you require assistance with an ADA request, please contact our ADA Coordinator.
Additional Documents for Reference
- Almaden Quicksilver County Park Guide Map
- Almaden Quicksilver Historic Trail Guide
- Almaden Quicksilver Brochure
Hiking Trails in Almaden Quicksilver County Park
The park offers 38 exquisite trails, perfect for hiking, walking, and birding. The trails range from easy routes that are family-friendly to more strenuous paths that challenge even the most experienced hikers. The park’s elevation varies significantly, adding to the thrill of the journey.
A Glimpse into the Past: The History of Almaden Quicksilver County Park
The park’s New Almaden Mines were operational from 1847 to 1976, playing a crucial role during the California Gold Rush. The mines were known for their mercury production, a key element in extracting gold from ore. By the time the mines closed in 1976, they had produced 83,974,076 pounds (37,388 metric tons) of mercury, worth more than US$70 million.
Today, the remains of various structures from the park’s mining past are scattered across the area, offering a unique historical perspective to visitors. The park also pays homage to the Civilian Conservation Corps firefighters who were stationed there.
The Transformation from Mines to Park
The conversion of the area from mines to a park was a result of a concerted effort by the County of Santa Clara. The county envisioned a historic park where visitors could learn about the mining past and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Today, the park stands as a testament to this vision, offering a perfect blend of history and nature.
Not Just a Park, But a Community
Almaden Quicksilver County Park is more than just a nature retreat. It’s a community where people from all walks of life come together to enjoy the great outdoors. From family picnics to solo hikes, from history walks to school programs, the park offers a plethora of activities to bring people closer to nature and to each other.
A Plethora of Activities
The park offers a wide array of activities for everyone. For those who love a physical challenge, the park’s varied hiking and biking trails provide the perfect opportunity to test endurance while enjoying stunning views. History buffs can explore the remnants of the mining era, and nature lovers will find themselves surrounded by natural beauty at every turn.
Hiking in Almaden Quicksilver County Park
The park offers numerous trails for hiking, each with its unique highlights. Some trails offer spectacular views of the Almaden Valley, while others pass by the Almaden Reservoir. Some paths are shaded, providing a respite from the sun, while others are open, offering unobstructed views of the surrounding beauty.
Reviews and Recommendations
The park has received rave reviews from visitors for its well-maintained trails, stunning views, and historical significance. Many visitors appreciate the variety of trails, the peaceful atmosphere, and the scenic beauty. However, it’s recommended to bring water and wear appropriate footwear, as some trails can be steep and challenging.
Almaden Quicksilver County Park is a historical and natural paradise, offering an enriching and invigorating experience for visitors. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or an outdoor enthusiast, the park has something for everyone. So pack your picnic, lace up your hiking boots, and set out for a day of adventure and discovery at Almaden Quicksilver County Park.