hiking


Almaden Quicksilver Park Mine Hill Trail

We are have having so much fun exploring the trails in Almaden Quicksilver Park! We decided to park at the Hacienda Trailhead in order to catch a trail from there. It was fun to see some historical mining equipment near the trailhead, and learn more about the quicksilver mining history in the area. Isn’t the equipment cool!

There are a few trailheads you can catch at the Hacienda entrance, and we decided to hike the Mine Hill Trail. It was a nice, uphill hike with views of Almaden Valley’s more rural areas. We could see historical homes, buildings, and rolling hills. It was really pretty. The trail was wide too, allowing for easy social distancing.

Mine Hill Trail in Almaden Quicksilver Park was slightly busy, but I believe it was due to the fact that hiking is one of the few things open right now.

This trail attracted more than just hikers. We encountered a lot of bike riders, and a few runners and dog walkers. The bikers rode pretty fast, and as a hiker, you had to be aware of them or you would get run over. Just a warning 🙂

Once again, I wore my balaclava as a mask. It’s easy to slip up and down when people are around. I would say 80% of the people on the trail were wearing masks. If you go, be ready to turn your head if someone comes by without a mask.

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This was a great trail for my kids to hike on. It wasn’t too steep, and they were able to keep up with only a couple of breaks. There was a mix of bright sun and shade during the hike. It was a comfortable hike, and it felt like medium intensity. We really enjoyed the Mine Hill Trail!

I hope you are getting out there and enjoying the nice weather! To find the Hacienda Trailhead in San Jose, take Almaden Expressway to Almaden Road. Continue all the way through the historical part of Almaden. Shortly after the museum, which you can’t miss, you will see the parking lot for the trailhead. There are several trails you can catch there. We will definitely go back!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy


Almaden Quicksilver Park Hacienda Trail

quicksilver park hacienda trail

The San Francisco Bay Area has so many beautiful trails, and with the Shelter-in-place order, we are discovering trails we hadn’t visited before.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have always visited the same group of trails in the Marin Headlands, and around Mt. Tam. Living in the South Bay, I have hiked a few trails close to my house, but hadn’t ventured too far to explore other parks. Now that hiking is one of the few activities we are allowed to do during this pandemic, we are exploring trails we have always said we wanted to check out, but hadn’t!

Almaden Quicksilver Park is located in South San Jose, in the Almaden area. It is a beautiful, well-kept county park with several trails. There are a few different areas to park, with several different trail-heads. To hike Hacienda Trail, we parked in a large parking lot on Mockingbird Hill Lane, which is right off Almaden Road in San Jose. It’s very easy to get to if you are coming from highway 85 like us!

Santa Clara County has done a really good job of posting large signs at trail-heads in order to ensure everyone is reminded to social distance while hiking on the trails. I would say about 90% of the hikers we encountered while on the trails were adhering to our county social distancing requirements. We did encounter one group of three families who obviously didn’t live together, hiking in regular clothing without masks. They took up the whole trail and were just standing there talking and not moving aside for hikers, runners, and walkers. Other than that group, everyone else we passed was in single file, and roughly 75% of the people we saw had a mask of some sort.

The first time we hiked during the pandemic, we wore dust masks we normally keep in the garage for when we are doing work projects in the garage. This time, we wore balaklavas; which we found to be ideal for hiking. With the balaklavas, we are able to wear them around our necks, and then lift them to cover our noses and mouths when there are other people around. They are comfortable and easy to use. My only complaint with them is that they are made for snow conditions, so our necks got a bit hot. haha, It was worth it for the comfort and ease of use!

The Hacienda Trail at Quicksilver Park is a steep trail, which takes you up and over 1000 feet in elevation. The reward is an absolutely gorgeous view of San Jose. I would call this an intermediate level trail. My kids complained a little bit, but they were able to handle it; and they really loved the view. Love that!

The trail itself is quite clean. The dirt has a sand-like look to it, and is very fine. Parts of the trail have several small rocks, so in a few areas we needed to make sure we didn’t slip on the rocks. These hiking boots were perfect for gripping the ground, and making me secure on the trail. Other than that, the trail is smooth and easy and safe.

The majority of people we encountered on the trail were friendly, and were hiking. There were a few people running, and we saw a couple people walking their dogs. It’s definitely a family friendly area, but I would caution trying this trail with small children. It is quite steep, and small children may not be able to handle it. I would say children ages ten and up can enjoy it, and handle the steep grade.

Have you been trying new trails during this shelter-in-place? If so, where have you gone? We are defintly going to continue checking out new trails!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy


Santa Teresa County Park Joice Trail

One of the few things we can do right now is go hiking. Thankfully, my family enjoys a good hike! We decided to check out a new trail, which I heard was filled with wildflowers this time of year. While not filled with a ton of wildflowers, Joice Trail in Santa Teresa County Park offered pretty views of southern San Jose, some hefty elevation, and pretty foliage.

One of the things we enjoyed about Joice Trail was the fact that the county has safety practices in place in order to ensure everyone can enjoy some outdoor fitness in the park while practing proper social distancing. We felt really safe and secure taking our kids on the trail. Love that!

As you can see above, Santa Clara County placed signage in strategic locations in the park to remind everyone to remain six feet apart, and to walk single file on the trails. In addition to these safeguards, Joice Trail is wider than most hiking trails in the area, allowing plenty of room to safely pass people.

We arrived at the trail-head at 9am, and hiked for a little over an hour with the kids. I definitely felt winded since I have only been walking, and working out at home. for the last five weeks. This hike made me not only miss hiking on a more regular basis, it made me miss the gym! I cannot wait for the gym to reopen. I miss spin classes! But I digress. . .let’s chat about this pretty trail. Check out these views.

It was a foggy morning, which is always nice and comfortable while hiking. This trail does not have a lot of shade, if you go during full sun, be sure to wear a sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. If you can go in the morning, you are more likely to have weak sun, fog, or some clouds.

Joice Trail in Santa Teresa County Park is a wide trail, this makes it an easy trail for biking and dog walking too. We felt very comfortable walking single file and sharing space with dog walkers and bikes. There was plenty of room for everyone to safely pass one another while maintaining proper social distancing. Love that!

If you are local to the San Francisco Bay Area, be sure to check out Joice Trail! You can catch the trailhead on Manila Drive, where there is plenty of street parking; the lot is very small. You can check out a map on SCCgov.org. For more information about the park and trail, please visit SCCgov.org.

I highly recommend this trail! Thank you so much for stopping by, happy hiking and stay safe!

XOXO
Cathy