Quest for Quicksilver

The new gold rush meets the old gold rush at Almaden Quicksilver County Park, named for the once-booming…

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The new gold rush meets the old gold rush at Almaden Quicksilver County Park, named for the once-booming industry of mining mercury, which was essential for extracting gold. Today, the park’s riches come in the form of stunning scenery, found by hiking and biking the numerous trails winding through oak and buckeye trees and accompanied by the soothing sounds of Guadalupe Creek. Views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range, along with Silicon Valley (where unicorns are the new gold rush!), are all highlights. Enjoy the scenery and explore Almaden’s mining history (it was home to nearly 2,000 miners and their families, with remnants of ruins and structural remains still standing) on a 5-mile loop hike on the park’s western side.

Take the Senador Mine Trail upwards to its namesake historic remnant before connecting to Guadalupe Trail for a long section of flat, mostly shaded trail, with Guadalupe Creek burbling nearby. This southern side of the loop is highlighted by views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Guadalupe Reservoir is the halfway point of the hike. Climb briefly uphill alongside it before going left at the (marked) Mine Hill Trail. This section of the loop sees views of Silicon Valley, bordered by the Diablo Range, as you gently descend through a mixture of sun and shade following Mine Hill Trail back to the starting point. Good rush of Quicksilver!

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From Almaden Expwy. south of Hwy. 85, take Camden Ave. west. Turn left onto McAbee Rd. and continue to the end of it, where you’ll see gates and a paved path toward the park entrance and cars parked along the street. Parking is free. Dog-friendly!

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