Quicksilver Confetti

Hike at Almaden Quicksilver County Park near San Jose

There’s something extra wild about Almaden Quicksilver County Park these days: wildflowers! They’re exploding like confetti amid the grasslands, and you can see them on this 5.7-mile balloon loop that starts from the park’s Mockingbird Hill Entrance. Beginning on the New Almaden Trail, climb under California bay and buckeye before quickly descending into a sloping canyon with purple Chinese houses, larkspur, and baby blue eyes.

The trail lopes along a pretty creek, ravines, and grasslands filled with buttercups and lupine. The narrow dirt trail is mostly shaded, with slants of sun, and every now and then you can see Mount Hamilton to the northeast. At the 2.8-mile mark, turn left onto Prospect Trail, climbing steeply for the next 0.2 mile beside fiddleneck, popcorn flower, and poppies. At the top of the hill there’s a picnic table overlooking the Santa Clara Valley, San Jose, Santa Cruz Mountains, Black Mountain, Mission Peak, Mount Hamilton, and the Diablo Range.

Bear left to join the Randol Trail, a nice and wide dirt trail with sunny stretches and shady corridors of warrior’s plume, maidenhair fern, and milk maids. After 1.2 miles, turn left to stay on the Randol Trail towards the Buena Vista Trail. At the 4.7-mile mark, turn left onto the Buena Vista Trail. After a short 0.3 mile, turn right to rejoin the New Almaden Trail for the last 0.7 mile back to the trailhead, traversing this particularly colorful stretch of wildflowers once more. 

The Mockingbird Hill Entrance is located on the southeast side of Almaden Quicksilver County Park. From CA-85, take exit 6 for Almaden Expressway south. Drive 4.4 miles south on Almaden Expressway, and then turn right onto Almaden Road. Drive 0.6 mile and then turn right onto Mockingbird Hill Lane. Drive 0.4 mile to the park entrance on the left. No fee. Dog-friendly!

{Covid-19 Update, April 2021} Please visit the Santa Clara County Park for the latest park updates and Covid-19 safety protocols. 

Story and photos by Melissa Ozbek, @melissaozbek

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Outdoor Zen in Sonoma County

    Sonoma County’s abundant natural beauty is good for your mind, body, and spirit. From redwoods and rhododendron walks, to yoga in a vineyard, here are five ways to soothe your soul in Sonoma County.

  2. Feather Fanfare

    Feathery birds swing and swoop on the edge of the San Francisco Bay, surrounded by the Diablo Range and Santa Cruz Mountains. See it all from a levee in serene Ravenswood Preserve.

  3. Mellow in the Marsh

    Beach, birds, ice plant popping purple flowers: That’s a hiking slam dunk! Hike about 2 miles at Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve using their fully reopened and well-signed Sequoia Audubon Trail.

  4. Watershed Moment

    The Presidio in San Francisco offers some of the best urban hiking in the country! And the new marsh bridges under Presidio Parkway offer more habitat for plants, fish, and bird life... and trails for us!


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

  2. Putnam Pedal and Poppies!

    Helen Putnam Regional Park punches above her weight. The compact yet bountiful park near Petaluma explodes with wildflowers every spring, in particular the state’s signature California poppy.

  3. Take the Musical Road

    Drive the Musical Road—one of only a handful in the world—to connect two of Antelope Valley’s best parks, Prime Desert Woodland Preserve with its Joshua Trees and Apollo Community Regional Park.

  4. Barrel of Fun

    Put a spring in your step and a barrel in your belly in Antelope Valley's Palmdale. Do a 2.75-mile hike on Barrel Springs Trail and enjoy a local winery that shares part of the nomenclature.