The trails wind around an area that was used in the 1800’s up until the early 1900’s to mine “quicksilver” – or, mercury. Because of the California Gold Rush, there was a high demand for quicksilver which was used to separate gold from ore. From the Santa Clara County Park’s site: “The park is the site of over 135 years of mining activities and former home to more than 1,800 miners and their families. The park encompasses 4,163 acres, occupying a majority of Capitancillos Ridge.”
Winter and Spring are a great time to visit this park’s rolling trails. I would say that approximately 60-70% of the trails I hiked have no tree cover. I’ve hiked here in the summer…and, know how hot this area of the county can get.
One of the bonuses of hiking here is the Historic Trial Map that was completed as part of a Boy Scout project. If you are interested in the local mining history, I strongly suggest that you download this map and take it along as you explore the park.
I started at the Wood Trail parking lot off of Hicks Road and did a big loop…with a side excursion to check out the Hidalgo Cemetery Site.
Trails: Wood Road, Hidalgo Cemetery, Castillero, Mine Hill.
I would rate this loop as a moderately difficult hike with over 6.75 miles covered and 875 feet of elevation gain.
On to my next hike!
If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.