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Alum Rock South Rim Trail

Looking for something fun to do in the city of San Jose, CA? Check out the Alum Rock South Rim Trail! The scenic trail is perfect for a stroll or vigorous hike.

It offers picturesque views of the cityscape, and if you are lucky, you might even spot some wildlife along the way.

In this travel guide, you’ll find all the necessary details for your visit to Alum Rock South Rim Trail, so you can plan your excursion accordingly and enjoy your time outdoors.

About Alum Rock South Rim Trail

The Alum Rock South Rim Trail is a 4.6 mile (6.9km) loop in the foothills of San Jose, California, boasting beautiful scenery with unique geological features such as natural hot springs, rock walls of layered strata, and sandstone outcrops. It is easily accessible in the South Bay Area. You can find it at 15350 Penitencia Creek Road, San Jose, CA 95127.

Starting as a paved road and gradually changing to a dirt path, the trail runs along the southern escarpment of Alum Rock Canyon. The trail is shared by equestrians and bicycles but running, trail walking, and hiking are all popular activities there.

A river and a wooden-planked steel bridge over Penitencia Creek are additional highlights of the Alum Rock South Rim Trail. There is a lot of shade around the creek, so keep an eye out for a historic century-old mineral spring spa concealed among the vegetation. Upon finishing your hike, you can rest on the benches at either end of the bridge.

There is no charge to use the trail. It is open daily from 8:00 AM to one-half hour after sunset, so you are free to enjoy all its offerings from sunrise to sunset!

Things to Know Before You Hit the Trail

The Alum Rock South Rim Trail offers a ton of sights and activities. Take note of the following before you go:

Bring some cash! You’ll be required to pay $6 as a parking fee at the parking lot.
Carefully observe the trail usage signs and use only appropriate trails.
Be mindful of wildlife, and wear long pants to avoid exposure to poison oak and ticks!
Dogs are not allowed on the trail due to the plethora of wildlife present, so it is advisable to leave your pet at home.
Don’t forget to pack your hiking essentials, snacks, and lots of liquid.

If you need a great place to shop for your hiking essentials, check out the Big 5 sporting goods, Smash gyms, or Dick’s Sporting Store. They are all within a 5-minute drive of the Alum Rock South Rim Trail.

Once you’ve got everything you need, grab your boots and get ready to hit the trail!

Hit the Trail

Your journey along the Alum Rock South Rim Trail should start from the parking lot on Penitencia Creek Road. The trailhead is at the entrance of Alum Rock Park, at the end of the parking lot. From there, the 6.9km loop with an elevation of 253m begins.

Here are some activities you can engage in along the Alum Rock South Rim Trail:

While taking in the trail’s distinct geological features, explore the area’s richness of flora and fauna.
Have a picnic lunch at one of the many picnic areas.
Relax and take in the fresh air.
Take in the scenic views of San Jose.

How Long Does It Take to Hike the Alum Rock South Rim Trail?

The time it takes to hike the Alum Rock Trail varies depending on how fast you walk and how often you stop to rest or take in the scenery. However, it is a moderately challenging route, and it takes an average of 2 hours and 2 minutes to complete.

When Is the Best Time to Hike the Alum Rock South Rim Trail?

The best time to travel the trail is in springtime since the creek is rushing and the vegetation is lush, even if you can do it at any time of year. If you desire a tranquil experience, it is advisable to hit the trail early in the morning to avoid the crowd and the heat.

Things to Do Nearby

Looking for other places in San Jose to explore the outdoors? Check out the following trails, parks, fishing ponds, and campgrounds, all within a 5-mile radius of the Alum Rock South Rim Trail:

Penitencia Creek Park and Trail
Eagle Rock Park
Cimarron Park
Percolation Ponds
Dr. Robert Gross Ponds
Castle Rock Trail Camp
Da Bang Summer Camp

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September 20, 2022


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