Day hikes at Alum Rock Park

June 26th, 2015 by becky

One of my favourite local places to hike is Alum Rock Park. It is close to us – about a 20 minute drive east – which makes it an easy place to go for a short hike. As I was slowly recovering from surgery, it became our go-to place for a walk in the woods. As I began to heal, I could measure my progress by how far I was able to walk. Initially it was not that far – a kilometer or two. Now I’m able to do a complete loop of the upper trail (4.5 miles/7km).

Usually we park at the bottom parking lot (which is free) and hike in from there. The majority of the trail is shaded, so it is still hike-able in the middle of the day, even when it is hot outside.

Elevation Profile
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Up past the visitor center – this picture was taken back on February 14, 2015.
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This one was taken back on April 9, 2015. I’m amazed to see just how green it was, compared to the pictures I took on Tuesday and today.
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You can see that now the trail is looking rather dry, but still is nicely shaded.
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This is looking out onto the same hill as the picture above taken on April 9th. Notice how all the grass has dried up. The hills are brown with a few green dots (trees). Even some of the trees are losing their leaves because of the drought.
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Today I decided to pay for parking and hike from the upper portion of the parking lot. I had planned on purchasing a year pass in the parking pay machines, as indicated on the parks website. Unfortunately, they have changed the programming for the machines and they are no longer offering year passes from them. I now need to make a trip out to the San Jose Regional Parks office in order to get a year pass. For today, I paid the $6 and got a regular day pass. It was worth it for me to get a chance to hike the upper trail – which I otherwise would not have had the energy to tackle.

Elevation Profile
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The drought appears to be taking a toll on the trees. In this photo you can see a bunch of the trees on the adjacent hill are dead.
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I enjoyed my hike today, but it was very dry. I’m not sure how much longer the park will stay open – as it closes if the fire risk gets to be too high. They have now banned all fires in the park, including BBQs. When you breath the incredibly dry air, and see the trees which are shedding their leaves due to lack of moisture, you can appreciate the impact of the drought.

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