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Alum Rock Park, San Jose

#6 of 26 in Parks in San Jose
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Alum Rock Park, founded in 1872, was the first municipal park in the U.S. state of California. Located in a valley in the Diablo Range foothills on the east side of San Jose, the 720 acre (2.9 km2) park offers 13 miles (21 km) of trails, varying from fairly level along Penitencia Creek to sharp switchbacks climbing to the ridges to the South Rim Trail and the North Rim Trail. The narrow floor of the valley includes a visitor center, a small museum/animal rehab facility, picnic areas, playgrounds, lawns, sand volleyball pits, mineral springs, lush plant life, woodlands, creek play opportunities, and occasional group camping.
The ridge trails offer views of Santa Clara Valley and of the valley in which the park is located. Some trails in the park are a part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail; the Todd Quick trail connects with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority's 1,600-acre Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve.
Equestrians and mountain bikers have access to some of the park's trails, while others are reserved for hikers only. Cross-country teams from high schools around North San Jose, such as James Lick High School and Independence High, use the park for training and for meets.
A visit to Alum Rock Park represents just the start of the adventure when you use our San Jose trip itinerary app to plot your vacation.
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Alum Rock Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
143 reviews
  • This park usually has free parking in certain lots but because of COVID-19 the entire park is free parking. I usually park it the lot at the very end and walk on the trails with my son (4.5). We...  more »
  • We didn't hike the switchback trails up the hill, but stayed on the level Penitencia Creek Trail that runs along the creek of its namesake. Near the park entrance to the west, the trail passes by...  more »
  • Walk alongside a creek trail with a gentle breeze rustling through leaves. Early in the morning you'll often see deer and squirrels. There's free parking on lower lots, paid lots by Youth Science Institute. If you would rather hike on more challenging trails, you can get scenic views of San Jose and beyond. Picnic areas and playgrounds make for family fun times.
  • A great place to put yourself in nature. It's a short distance from San Jose, but there's so much nature. If there's water in the creek, you're in for a treat! Plenty of parking and a lot of people taking walks and enjoying wild animals and plant life. It's got an outdoor park and a visitor center too. Both were closed when I went, but I appreciated the ground squirrels and so many birds! It's a great close by escape with nice walking trails. No dogs!

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