A two-hour-plus hike up to the rim of a canyon west of San Jose. Here’s the basics, from the park brochure:
From 1890 to 1932 the park was a nationally known health spa with 27 mineral springs containing seven different minerals.
Inside, the water burbles out through the cliff wall. This one had the smell of sulfur (which is to say, rotten eggs) and we wondered how it was that people once thought bathing in this stuff was healthy, let alone non-lethal.
For a quarter, you could ride from downtown San Jose to the park on the Alum Rock Steam Railroad. The park charmed its visitors with mineral baths, an indoor swimming pool, a tea garden, restaurant and dance pavilion.
The South Rim Trail
The trail took us up about 600 feet over the canyon floor via a series of sharp switchbacks.
Starting from the bottom, we’re in nicely shaded woods for a while. All the way up the fragrances of the eucalyptus trees and sagebrush was exotic (remember, we’re from New Jersey here) and refreshing.
We thought this trail was going to take us to a promontory we’d been looking at the whole time, but it stopped short. Nevertheless, the view across Silicon Valley to the distant Santa Cruz Mountains was impressive.
[googleMap name=”Alum Rock Park” width=”450″ directions_to=”false”]Alum Rock Park, San Jose, CA[/googleMap]