A Hike at Alum Rock

We spent a glorious Sunday afternoon hiking at Alum Rock Park in San Jose. We should be sheltering from the rain this time of year, but our drought continues. So instead, we enjoyed the dry, warm conditions and the chance to spend an afternoon outdoors.

Looking down from one of the many bridges in the park

Alum Rock is a treat for the senses. Sulfur springs still move through the hills, delivering the unmistakable aroma as you hike the trails. Further up, the paths are shaded and cool, with that rich mix of forest smells.

Grotto
Mineral springs flows beneath the grotto

Here is a bit of history of this iconic park:

Alum Rock Park was founded in 1872 and is one of California‚Äôs oldest municipal parks. Nestled within the Alum Rock Canyon in the foothills of the Diablo Range, the Park’s 720 acres of natural, rugged beauty, provide visitors with many leisure outdoor activities including hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, family and group picnicking, and of course just relaxing.

From 1890 to 1932 the park was a nationally known health spa with 27 mineral springs, an indoor swimming pool, tea garden, restaurant, and dance pavilion. At the time you could ride from downtown San Jose to the park on the Alum Rock Steam Railroad, a ride that cost a quarter. Today, remnants of the railroad bridges can be seen, some of the stone grottos that contain mineral springs are still accessible, but now the charms of the park focus on nature, wildlife, and hiking.

City of San Jose

I’m always intrigued by the rock formations. They’re quite beautiful and varied, composed of minerals dating back to the Jurassic age.

Mineral springs flow from the mountain side

Aren’t they something?

We meandered along the path, with my ever-patient husband willing to stop along the way so I could take photos.

Mike enjoying the day

I had fun crossing a few bridges, but I had to hold my breath crossing a short, narrow ledge. For the most part though, it was a gentle climb.

Arched stone bridge and stairs
Pedestrian truss bridge
Wildflowers above a stream

A few blooming wildflowers caught my eye, the yellow ones, above, and this white Oxalis.

Oxalis
A squirrel in the sun

There were no bobcats or rattlesnakes along the path, but I spotted this cute squirrel toward the end of our hike. From a distance he blended into the rocks.

With my sweetie, married 26 years

A few final photos of the day:

Hiking Alum Rock has been a highlight of the month. We’re so lucky to live just seven miles from this gem.