There is so much joy in gravel because there are endless opportunities to discover great places to ride.
Even living the Bay Area for six years, I never was fully familiar with San Jose on my visits, let alone the cycling possibilities around.
Consequently, there wasn’t that much noise about nearby routes on our Facebook Group, but I was eager to find out what I was missing, so I reached out to Javier after he posted a number of videos in the area.
Remembering hills with rolling grasslands nearby, I feared the riding wouldn’t be that dynamic, but I love to be proved wrong.
Arriving at Calero County County Park, it could tell by the scarcity of parking coupled with the number of bikers meant that I was onto something.
It wasn’t just the many riders I saw scaling the hill, but also the inclusion of children that meant these trails were friendly for all.
Already, you get sucked it by the natural beauty rolling through this green carpeting underneath a healthy array of oak trees.
Then you factor in the flow which is mainly these perfectly crafted rollers under ideal surface conditions.
We almost completed the Oak Cove Trail, but had a second delight heading over to Almaden Quicksilver Park just a mile away.
On the way, you definitely get a sense of history led by the nineteenth century Casa Grande showing the wealth from early mining operations.
Entering Alamaden Quicksilver, it’s hard to imagine such a contrast in this short of a distance whether it’s the sharp grades or heavy tree cover.
Starting off on the steep Mine Hill Trail, so come across signage indicating the early tramway and as you dive deeper, you start to picture how these operations dominated the hillside.
Reaching the top of this climb, you’ve earned some rest to take in the view of Mount Umunhum, one of the tallest peaks in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The descent is nice reward overlooking another reservoir before returning on the Randol Trail where you get a little more glimpse of history that you’ll find more on the local hiking trails.
I was more than pleasantly surprised with the conditions and profiles of Calero County and Alamaden Quicksilver Park, and if you’re trying to bring along a friend into gravel, this is an excellent place to start.