|Lake Almaden from the trail on the north end|
The Alamitos Creek Trail is a popular (sometimes too popular),
scenic multi-use trail through San Jose's upscale Almaden Valley. It begins
at the southeast shore of Lake
Almaden, at the western edge of the Santa Teresa Hills and at the entrance
to the Almaden Valley. Almaden Lake is a popular place for swimming in
season, boating, picnicking, and fishing. A path leads around the northeast
shore of the lake to the Almaden Light Rail Station. Another path crosses
over a bridge across Alamitos Creek to the lake's swimming, picnic, and
playground areas next to Almaden Expressway.
|Alamitos Creek north of the Mazzone Drive Bridge|
The main trail leads south upstream along the winding
creek, passing near some expensive neighborhoods along the edge of the
Santa Teresa Hills. Along the trail, there are par course stations, interpretive
signs, benches, and drinking fountains. An equestrian trail parallels the
paved multi-use trail. There's a deep hole at some large boulders, called
"Elephant Rock." Swimming is not allowed here however. Upstream is a stretch
of fast water, then a bridge.
|Alamitos Creek, along bike trail, looking towards the bridge near Greystone Lane|
The trail crosses over the creek at the bridge. At the upstream side of the bridge is a deep pool teeming with large fish (not gamefish, unfortunately). The paved trail ends at Greystone Lane. You can either ride down the wide, level gravel trail near the creek or ride on adjacent busy 2-lane Camden Avenue. Sandstone was quarried in the steep Santa Teresa Hills near here. Stone from here was used to build Stanford University. If you go up Greystone Lane a little, you'll see a small historic stone building, built in the 1870's, which housed tools for the quarry. Continuing down along the creek trail, the paved trail begins again a little past Leland High School. Both the creek and trail fork a little ways further.
If you cross the bridge over Alamitos Creek and continue along Camden Avenue, you pick up the trail that follows Arroyo Calero to its terminus at Harry Road. If you cross over Arroyo Calero at the Harry Road Bridge, you'll see a dirt path on the east side of the creek. This path follows the creek next to the fence that marks IBM's Almaden Research Center's property. If you keep going, you'll jog to the left and follow along a deeply rutted farm road to eventually pop out at San Vicente Avenue. Near the Fortini Road intersection, you'll see the entrance to Santa Teresa Park's Stile Ranch Trail. This trail zigzags up the steep rocky hill. The entrance to the Fortini Trail is also here, heading south along the base of the hillside. This trail also leads into Santa Teresa Park and is a much easier trail than the Stile Ranch.
Back to the fork in the trail at the confluence of the two creeks: If you cross Camden Avenue before the bridge, you'll follow along the west bank of Alamitos Creek. The paved trail is on a bank above the creek, but there's a dirt path at the creek level that allows access to the creek. The path ducks under Almaden Expressway and ends at McKean Road. You can cross over the creek at McKean Road and come back along the east bank. Otherwise, you can take McKean Road to Harry Road and pick up the trail along Arroyo Calero. You can then backtrack along the trail to Lake Almaden. Alternatively, you can head back along Almaden Expressway if you're in a hurry and don't mind being next to a busy expressway. Or you can wander around the suburbs of the Almaden Valley. If you go southwest on McKean Road, cross Almaden Road, and continue up on Mockingbird Hill Lane, you'll end up at the Hacienda entrance to Almaden Quicksilver Park. If you take narrow Almaden Road south, you'll follow the course of Alamitos creek towards its source at Almaden Reservoir. On the way, you can pass through the historic town of New Almaden and past the southern entrance to Almaden Quicksilver Park. You can't bike through the park, so you have to park your bike and hike to visit the park. Past the park entrance, the road crosses Alamitos Creek and becomes Alamitos Road. It skirts the north shore of Almaden Reservoir, then intersects the start of Hicks Road. Hicks Road is an extremely steep, winding, narrow road that climbs over the mountains and drops down along the west side of west side of Almaden Quicksilver Park and Guadalupe Reservoir. This section is for experts only.
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Ron Horii, San Jose