Penitencia Creek Trail Alum Rock Park

Milpitas, California

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History, health, and hiking merge on the flat track that follows Penitencia Creek from the grottos and pools of a onetime spa into a backcountry lush with sycamores, bigleaf maples, and oaks. Tucked in a steep canyon in the hills east of downtown San Jose, Alum Rock Park has been a retreat for the city-weary since 1872. Its mineral springs, still collecting in grottos and fonts along the Penitencia Creek Trail, earned a spa located here national renown at the turn of the twentieth century. More than twenty springs contain seven different minerals including soda, magnesia, iron, and—you can smell this from the trail—sulphur. You can’t “take the waters” these days, but you can enjoy their legacy along this short route.

Penitencia Creek Trail (Alum Rock Park) Professional Review and Guide

"History, health, and hiking merge on the flat track that follows Penitencia Creek from the grottos and pools of a onetime spa into a backcountry lush with sycamores, bigleaf maples, and oaks. Tucked in a steep canyon in the hills east of downtown San Jose, Alum Rock Park has been a retreat for the city-weary since 1872. Its mineral springs, still collecting in grottos and fonts along the Penitencia Creek Trail, earned a spa located here national renown at the turn of the twentieth century. More than twenty springs contain seven different minerals including soda, magnesia, iron, and—you can smell this from the trail—sulphur. You can’t “take the waters” these days, but you can enjoy their legacy along this short route."

Activity Type: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Trail Running
Nearby City: Milpitas
Distance: 1.4
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1 hour
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Alum Rock Park
Local Maps: USGS Calaveras Reservoir
Driving Directions: Directions to Penitencia Creek Trail (Alum Rock Park)

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May 2018