Well, this took a bit longer than expected. My first “major” hike through Almaden-Quicksilver Park in San Jose (location of trailhead) was via the Mockingbird Hill Entrance, from which I took the New Almaden Trail. The park map is very useful and detailed.
My actual path was to head southeast along the New Almaden trail, then south onto the Buena Vista trail, bearing left onto one of the branches that eventually led to the Randol Trail, then the Hacienda Trail back to the trail head. Total of about 4 miles. Most of my hikes are about this long, at least partly because I stop so often to take photos that I take a long time to cover those 4 miles. Trunk Stripped Bare.
This is a nice hike. There is alternating shaded and brightly lit areas (for example), which makes for a nice combination of hot and cool, which means you can go most anytime of day. The trails are not very steep. I chose the New Almaden trail specifically because it’s a hiking-only trail – mixed use trails, in my opinion, tend to be a bit too soft, even on inclines and declines, making it harder on the legs than if there were at least some rocks upon which to really get some traction. Actually, on the way back, along the Hacienda trail, which is mixed-use, I had a hard time dealing with what felt almost like loose sand as the path material. Next time, I’ll go the other way on the trail, heading over to the Norton trail instead. It’ll be about the same distance.
The only weird part is the Buena Vista trail. It?s narrow, very rocky, and sufficiently undeveloped (and therefore unhiked) that it felt like I had taken a wrong turn. I actually went back to make sure. The tree limbs were literally coming right over my head and wrapping around the trail. Very strange. By comparison, going through the “Capehorn Pass” off of the Randol trail didn’t seem like much of a pass. Buena Vista felt like it was creating a whole new path.
I intend to take this trail combination again, except going to the Norton trail at the end. I liked it much, and it was nice not going to the main Hacienda entrance that is most popular for this park. The photo ops abound all along the way, even in the harsh, dry middle-of-the-summer time of year . So keep some film or memory space left up until the end.