- 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.)
The hike I did is the very tip-top of the park, as indicated by the (faint, sorry) red line above.
The entrance is rather unassuming, amid the suburban houses of South San Jose. Thankfully, there is always available street parking.
Glorious California winter — everything was pretty brown and dead at this point but it was still a rather pleasant hike.
Half the hike is on trail roads, half is on trails.
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!
There are pretty much two major hills where you just go up up up. Leg killers.
Top of the first major hill.
And then downwards on the other side of the hill.
Can you see the winding trail?
I was surprised to see a patch of frost, being that I was hiking at 3pm. Also, say hello to Molly, my hiking buddy.
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!
Some downed trees.
Start of the second major hill. The road starts going upwards gradually before turning into a fairly strenuous ascent.
Get an idea of steepness here?
The dam of the Guadalupe Reservoir.
…Which is very very low right now.
Over the reservoir, with some very annoying and ugly chain-link.
At the top of the second hill, it’s time to go left and start heading back to the entrance.
Finally, some great views of San Jose and Almaden.
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.
The upper trail is still pretty nice, even though it’s less trail-y and more trail-road-y.
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.