Founded in 1872 and known as the oldest municipal park, the Alum Rock Park is located in a valley in the Diablo Range foothills on the east side of the city. It offers a different kind of trails, varying from fairly level along Penitencia Creek to sharp switchbacks climbing to the ridges to the North Rim Trail and the South one. There is a visitor center with a small museum, as well as picnic areas, playgrounds, volleyball pits, and mineral springs. The best time of the year to visit this park is spring because it provides the park with color from a variety of wild flowers including the California poppy and sticky monkey flower.
The Alum Rock Park is perfect for mountain bikers that love adventures and also for hikers that want to explore all the different trails. Cross-country teams, for example, use the park for training and for meetings, so if you are wondering where to bring your group of friends, or even your own team, this is the place! If you explore the north side of the canyon, you will be able to see a variety of grasses, poison oak, holly leaf-cherry, sagebrush, and scattered live oak trees. Also, black-tailed deer, brush rabbits and quail, as well as red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures.
Check out this video to learn more about Alum Rock Park:
The south side of the canyon offers a completely different experience. There are trees like the California black oak, bay, madrone, and California buckeye, as well as smaller shrubs like the toyon, wild rose, and wild blackberries. On rare occasions, a hiker might see the elusive bobcat as it disappears into the dense brush.
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