Can’t make it to Yosemite or Big Sur? That’s alright; we still have what you’re looking for.
Many visitors and locals ride their bikes along the Los Gatos Creek River, take a stroll along the Guadalupe Park River, or enjoy themselves at one of the many quaint parks that litter the South Bay. However, if you’re looking to break out of the city’s downtown core and get away from suburban life for a little while you’ll be happy to know that San Jose offers many possibilities for those who want to enjoy some scenic views or even head off into the wilderness to “rough it”.
Heading down towards south San Jose, to find a suburban area known as Almaden Valley, and go further, past the man-made beach of Almaden Lake, to find beyond the horizon lies the Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The 4,125 acre park offers its visitors opportunities to hike along several trails, mountain bike and even go horseback riding. If you’re in the mood for something more relaxing, there are picnic areas mixed in throughout the park, and feel free to bring your four legged friends with you as the Almaden Park, like most of the South Bay, is pet friendly.
From San Jose you can travel northeast of downtown and as you approach the mountains you’ll find yourself at the Alum Rock Park. A 720 acre park with hiking, biking, horseback riding and whose summit offers a unique view of the entire Silicon Valley. While the park originally was known for its abundant mineral springs and touted as being beneficial to people’s health in the late 1800’s, by the 1960’s many of the springs had become extinct. However, in 2007 there were reports that some previously dried up springs had begun flowing again.
To the west of San Jose, between Saratoga and Santa Cruz lies the Big Basin Redwoods State Park. An 18,000 acre park perfect for everyone who enjoys group camping, tent cabins, backpacking camps, hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails leading to many small waterfalls. Open year round and with over 80 miles of trails you’ll want to make sure you pick up a map from their park headquarters, as trails run from inland, over the mountains, and all the way to sandy hidden beaches.
Two other nearby adventures await you at the Lexington Park & Reservoir and Vasona Park. Lexington offers 914 acres of beautiful and scenic surroundings and a 475 acre lake which is stocked with Rainbow Trout which offers many fishing and boating possibilities. On the other side of the hill, nestled near Los Gatos, is Vasona Park where 45 acres of lawn allow for informal play such as Frisbee, softball or soccer. Several picnic areas are available, as well as paddle boats and row boats can be rented to take out on the lake stocked with Black Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Blue Gill.