Located in the eastern foothills of San José, Alum Rock Park
is accessible from Penitencia Creek Drive. Since it was established, the Penitencia Creek Trail has offered only minimal off-street pedestrian and bike access to the park.
Alum Rock Park is one of the oldest city parks in California. Set within the Alum Rock Canyon in the foothills of the Diablo Mountain Range, the 740-acre wilderness, rugged, scenery park provides tourists numerous recreational leisure activities including hiking, jogging, bicycling and picnicking. The park is home to many wild animals because of its proximity to remote natural areas. Other species include lions of the forest, bobcats, deer and several other smaller animals.
Move along an effortlessly flowing stretch of the river with a soft brise. You will often see deer and squirrels early in the morning. Higher lots have free parking, Youth Science Institute paid lots. You can get scenic views of San Jose and beyond if you'd rather cycle on more difficult trails. Picnic areas and playgrounds offer fun times for the kids.
This historic park is a wealth of beautiful scenery and pleasant trails, often along a creek. At the turn of the century into the 1930s the park offered a huge natatorium, zoo and grottoes with mineral water springs. The large buildings are gone giving the park back to the natural setting that made it popular. Walkways turn into trails as they leave the canyon floor. There are lovely places to picnic and even a small children's play area amid walkways and gazebos from the past. The Youth Science Institute has a small facility with an aviary and a historic log cabin.
The spectacular areas of the park require a little more walking and climbing the hillside to the ridge trail. This is a way to go as the climate is cool when shade-free as you go up to the valley of Santa Clara. Some of the grottoes still have a mineral water drip, but most of them need repair. During the day, animal activity is ample but elusive. Looking at the cliffs and fortunate owl dens, fuzzy little heads can be seen.
The creek is fun and a little twig and leaves ship can be used to enjoy kids on the river. Between dawn to late afternoon, walkers are in the forest. The Ridge Trail takes a couple of hours. And take your drink and treat. There are no exceptions. Please carry a coat to the forest.