Distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation change: 600 feet
Hiking time: 3 hours
Trail surface: Uneven, mostly exposed
Best Season: Spring and fall
Managing agency: Santa Clara County Parks
Parking lot location: Click here for directions
Overview: If you’re curious about local history, this is the hike for you. This park is the site of the first quicksilver (mercury) mining operation in California, and also the most productive mine in state history. With over 30 miles of trails, there’s lots to explore. But this loop hike is our favorite. Although bikes are allowed on much of the trail, the end of the loop is hiking-only, so bikers will need to turn back and retrace their path.
From the Mockingbird Hill entrance follow the Hacienda Trail, right on Capehorn Pass Trail, right on the Randol Trail, right on the Buena Vista Trail, and right on the New Almaden Trail back to the parking lot.
It can get quite hot at this preserve in the summer months, so plan accordingly and, when hiking in the heat, pack plenty of water.