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Almaden Quicksilver County Park

Date: (Sun.) Oct. 5, 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 650.941.8251
Course Setter: Derek Maclean
Type: C; Intermediate/advanced courses only (Orange thru Blue); NO BEGINNER COURSES

Steph tells me that I was too negative in my course setters notes (below). While I wanted to provide full disclosure of the negative elements, perhaps the positive should be emphasized a bit more. It is a beautiful park—there are stunning views throughout—and a surprising amount of runnable terrain. There is ample parking, and many interesting features in the park—all will see the cinnabar mining works, and most will pass close by the old Hidalgo cemetery. And remember... it's 300 m net descent!


Course Setter's Notes


Note: Park approval has been received. The event is on!

Note: There are NO White or Yellow courses.

Welcome to Almaden-Quicksilver 2008, the first regular meet in this park... ever!? AQ is a large and beautiful park on the south edge of San Jose, characterized by steep, forested slopes and wide open meadows. To reach the best terrain, intermediate and advanced runners (Orange to Blue) will be shuttled to a remote start and will navigate back to the finish at the main parking lot. That’s a 300-m net descent on all advanced courses!

Unfortunately, because of the terrain, it is not possible to plan reasonable beginner courses here. So there will be no White or Yellow courses at this meet. However, we have planned a short junior course around the parking lot, as described below.

Junior Course

A junior-level course will be offered in the open flat area adjacent to the parking lot. This is intended as a fun training exercise prior to the upcoming COOL series events. Most of the 1.1-km course is viewable from the Hacienda parking lot adjacent to registration and the Advanced-course Finish. This course will use E-Punch and there will be no charge for participants. Long pants or gaiters are advised due to areas of low star thistle on some routes. One short section follows a minor trail through a wooded area, crossing a small stream with some spiky plants.

Course Details

All courses will use E-punch. If you do not have a E-punch stick, they may be rented at Registration.

The final stats are as follows:

                                       Technical      Physical
  Course   Length   Climb   Controls   Difficulty     Difficulty
  Orange   3.9 km   100 m      11      Intermediate   Intermediate
  Brown    3.9 km   205 m      11      Advanced       Hard
  Green    4.3 km   265 m      11      Advanced       Harder
  Red      5.0 km   325 m      12      Advanced       Very hard
  Blue     6.0 km   400 m      14      Advanced       Even harder

Shuttles will leave directly from the main parking lot. We should have sufficient drivers to minimize waiting for shuttles. The ride is 10 minutes, then a 250-m walk to the self-start area. Shuttles will run from 9:45 until 12:20. Please arrive in time to finish your course by 2 PM. You must check in at the finish by 2 PM, even if you have not completed your course!

The Orange course takes a fairly direct route back to the finish, and has a number of legs with reasonable trail options. This course could be completed by mature competitors who are already comfortable on the Yellow course. However, note that some trails are very steep and loose! The Brown through Blue courses are standard advanced courses, and should be tackled only by those with appropriate experience. Although the course lengths are on the short side, the physical difficulty should not be underestimated. The terrain is notably steep, and the ground is often loose and energy-sapping to traverse. Stout, cleated footwear is strongly recommended.

The Orange course passes near some old mine workings. Do not enter any buildings, and stay off equipment. You may encounter trails marked with a "Danger" warning sign, but the course will not take you near the noted hazards, and you may enter these areas.

The advanced courses traverse some areas that have not been very thoroughly mapped. In some forested areas you may expect to find unmapped rock and vegetation features. We have made a number of map corrections in the vicinity of controls. There are several partly ruined barbed-wire fences that are poorly mapped and are a notable hazard. Unmapped fences appear to be continuations of the fences that are on the map. Please take care in these areas. Some thickets have grown since the map was produced, and some unmarked bushes and small thickets are present in open areas.


The park can be hot and exposed. All courses have at least one water stop. While we will endeavor to provide enough water for all, please be courteous to fellow competitors and do not waste water or refill bottles. Please also try to arrive at the start well-hydrated. Drinking a quantity of fluid 20 mins before your start is advised.

Poison oak is present throughout the park. At this time of year it has substantially died back, and the distinctive leaves are red or fallen. The bare branches can still scratch and cause itchy rash. Wear full body cover and take suitable precautions. Lyme disease has been reported to be present in the park. Wear full body cover and inspect your body for ticks after your run. Some rodents in the park have been reported to carry Hanta virus. Do not enter any buildings, and avoid diseased animals.

Open areas have lots of grasses with annoying stickers and seeds. There are also areas of star-thistle. Gaiters or other lower-leg protection are a good idea.


Parking will be at the Hacienda parking lot near the town of New Almaden.

From the Peninsula, take Hwy 85 S to the Almaden Expressway exit in S San Jose. Travel S (right) on Almaden Expwy for 4.2 miles to the junction with Almaden Rd. Turn R onto Almaden Rd and proceed 2.3 miles through the town of New Almaden to the well-marked parking lot on the R. Follow instructions from parking attendants.

From the East Bay or points South, take Hwy 101 to Hwy 85(N), travel 5 miles to the junction with Almaden Expwy, and proceed as above.