Hiking Quicksilver County Park: McAfee Entrance

Hiking Quicksilver County Park: McAfee Entrance (22)

  • Location: Quicksilver County Park, San Jose, California
  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate (due to hills)

One of my favorite places for a good hike and workout is Quicksilver County Park, literally a hop-skip-jump from my house. This was my first real hike after getting back to the Bay Area from my Europe trip (and first hike since the glorious Black Forest hike.)

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The hike I did is the very tip-top of the park, as indicated by the (faint, sorry) red line above.

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The entrance is rather unassuming, amid the suburban houses of South San Jose. Thankfully, there is always available street parking.

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Glorious California winter — everything was pretty brown and dead at this point but it was still a rather pleasant hike.

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Half the hike is on trail roads, half is on trails.

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Being that it’s Quicksilver County Park, where mercury mining was done back in the day, a lot of old abandoned mining structures are here. Fun fact: there are tons of signs warning about eating animals from here due to mercury levels. When I was a child, my mom would take me up here to go crawfish fishing, but I didn’t really like eating them — thank goodness!

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There are pretty much two major hills where you just go up up up. Leg killers.

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Top of the first major hill.

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And then downwards on the other side of the hill.

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Can you see the winding trail?

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I was surprised to see a patch of frost, being that I was hiking at 3pm. Also, say hello to Molly, my hiking buddy.

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Once you’re down the hill, you’ll walk semi-nearby the stream coming down from the dam — the same one my mom used to take me fishing!

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Some downed trees.

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Start of the second major hill. The road starts going upwards gradually before turning into a fairly strenuous ascent.

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Get an idea of steepness here?

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The dam of the Guadalupe Reservoir.

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…Which is very very low right now.

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Over the reservoir, with some very annoying and ugly chain-link.

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At the top of the second hill, it’s time to go left and start heading back to the entrance.

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Finally, some great views of San Jose and Almaden.

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This is where I used to turn – this is a very tiny trail that leads to a nice in-the-trees bit… but once I was hiking and ran into a rattlesnake sunning itself in the middle of the tiny trail. We were able to skirt it, but I’ve been kind of (admittedly, illogically) worried ever since so I stick to the high trail now.

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The upper trail is still pretty nice, even though it’s less trail-y and more trail-road-y.

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Big hiking intersection before heading down for the final bit.

A day after hiking, I’m moderately sore (hips and a bit of glutes, mainly.) Someday I really need to explore more of the park but it’s so nice to be able to drive less than 5 minutes to a trailhead (also, this is why I love living in California.) The park is also dog-friendly, which is a huge plus.