Ride No. 2
San Jose
New Almaden and Hicks Road Loop

Region: Santa Clara Valley East
Total Distance: 19 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 1300 feet
Type of Bike: Road Bike
Ride Rating: Moderate
Riding Time: 2-3 hours
Calories Burned: 700


Terrain
The majority of this ride is along country roads with one significant hill to climb. The ride is good any time of year, although it is best in the spring, when the creeks are running and the hills are green.


Ride Description
New Almaden was originally named after the city of Almaden in south-central Spain (about 100 miles south of Madrid) and has long been known for its rich, dark red earth which the native Indians of the area called "moketka". In 1824, Don Antonio Suñol began working a mining operation, thinking that the soil contained large quantities of silver. He abandoned these efforts when he concluded that no silver was present. Mining ceased completely until 1845, when Andres Castillero discovered that the red earth contained quicksilver, another name for mercury.
Although mining no longer takes place, New Almaden has retained its pioneer flavor and is a throwback to previous times, despite its close proximity to San Jose's suburban sprawl and high-tech image.
This ride takes you from the Almaden Plaza Shopping Center to New Almaden along busy Almaden Expressway. After passing through New Almaden, you will go up a small hill to the Almaden Dam and Reservoir. Continuing past the reservoir, you will climb a rather steep grade along Hicks Road to the crest of the big hill. The descent will afford you some panoramic views of the valley ahead of you as it winds its way down to the Guadalupe Dam and Reservoir and continues along the Guadalupe Creek back to your start point.
Starting Point
The ride starts at the Almaden Plaza Shopping Center at the intersection of Blossom Hill Road and Almaden Expressway. To get there from areas north of San Jose, take Highway 85 south and get off at the exit for Almaden Expressway. From points south of San Jose, take Highway 85 north toward Mountain View and get off at Almaden Expressway. Go south on Almaden Expressway to the Blossom Hill Road intersection and park where it is convenient.
Ride Details and Mile Markers
0.0 Proceed SOUTH on Almaden Expressway.

0.8 Cross Coleman Road.

1.8 Cross Redmond Avenue.

2.5 Cross Camden Avenue.

4.3 Turn RIGHT onto Almaden Road. Almaden Expressway continues to the left.

4.9 Mockingbird Hill Lane is on the right. If you proceed down this road, you will come to one of the access points into Almaden Quicksilver Park. Bikes are not permitted on the trails in the park, but you may wish to explore on foot.

6.8 Opry House is on the left. This is a New Almaden landmark. Melodramas and a rustic western-style bar are featured here.

7.0 Town of New Almaden. There is a small mining museum on the left side part way through town.

7.2 Another entrance to Almaden Quicksilver Park on the right side. A California State Historic Landmark sign is on the left. The road becomes Alamitos Road at this point.

7.6 Almaden Dam and Reservoir on the left.

8.9 Turn RIGHT onto Hicks Road.

10.6 Crest of the hill at the intersection with Loma Almaden Road on the left side.

13.3 Guadalupe Dam and Reservoir on the right side.

15.5 Bear RIGHT at the intersection with Shannon Road.

17.0 Turn RIGHT onto Camden Avenue and then make an immediate LEFT onto Coleman Road.

18.6 Turn LEFT onto Almaden Expressway.

19.0 Back at the start point.

Extra Option on Loma Almaden Road (2 miles out and back)
At the crest of Hicks Road is the intersection with Loma Almaden Road. If you take this out and back side trip, you will climb about 900 feet over the 2-mile length of the road, with a portion of it very steep (about 17% for a section of 0.2 miles). You will reach a gate where you can park your bike and walk along a trail off to the left for some spectacular views of the canyons below Mt. Umunum, ahead and off to the right. This area is part of the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.


Return to South Bay Bike Trails Page