“This loop makes for a good workout with great views.
— Eric Hong
The wide fire road and pretty scenery of the park is family friendly. Be sure to pick the right route and distance to fit the age of the riders.
There is nothing technical about this loop except the three-mile climb from the parking area at Hacienda to Bull Run and a short but steep climb on Randol Trail
. It is a good workout with some OK downhill on dirt park roads. Most of the route is scenic.
is often closed in wet winters. You can check the status of the trails by calling the Santa Clara County Hotline 1-408-355-2200 and then press 7 and then 5.
Need to Know
Be sure to bring enough water for the ride, especially during hot summer days. You need to bring at least 1.5 liters or even 2 liters of water in order to finish the ride without dehydration.
This loop can be ridden in either direction but this is the preferred direction for most riders. It gets the big climb out of the way early and offers a scenic flow from the high point at Bull Run to the beginning of the Randol Trail
near the reservoir.
Another possible alternative and slightly longer route is through the Castillero Trail
south of the Mine Hill Rd. That's about one more mile through the loop. That will also lead you to the highest peak in the park on the Castillero Trail
slightly south of the Bull Run. It is marked with a fire hose stand.
Often deer are near the trail and sometimes bobcats, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and turkeys. Mountain lions won't bother people, and the rattlesnakes are mellow unless pissed off.
There are some interesting old mines on the April Trail
which is a small loop off this route and at the Cristobol Mine adjacent to Mine Hill Trail
The trails can be a bit crowded on beautiful spring weekends.
History & Background
This loop is through the historic New Almaden mines. This was California's first mine run by Europeans and the mercury smelted here was shipped around the world. It was also used in the California gold fields and after in gold mining in Alaska, Mexico, South America, and Indonesia.