Historic Alum Rock Park was a hot spot back at the turn of the century. It was believed at the time that the mineral springs had curative properties. People would come from miles around to bathe in the water. There was a trolley to bring visitors up from San Jose. Over the years, Alum Rock Park had a carousel, a snack bar, a swimming pool and even caged wild animals!
All of that is gone now. In the 1960's the park was returned to a natural preserve. But you can see some interesting remnants of the park's history.
As you enter the park, you'll drive under a very old concrete bridge. That is actually an old train tressel from the railroad. It is one of the oldest in the state still in existence!
In the lawn area, you'll see a white gazebo. In the 1960's spring water was piped into the gazebo and visitors could taste each of the different types of mineral water! I remember doing this with my brothers and being amazed that they would drink it!
If you walk north from the gazebo along the paved section of the "Creek Trail" which follows Penetencia Creek, there are stone archways protecting the old mineral springs where visitors would collect mineral water. You will even see the ruins of the old bathing pools where turn of the century visitors would submerge themselves.
There are miles of beautiful hiking and equestrian trails to explore. If you explore the creek beds, you may locate rocks with fossilized sea shells in them! These sea shells are there because millions of years ago, Alum Rock Park was a beach! If you find these rocks, please do not remove them, they are very rare. If you are unable to find them, you can see large examples on the far end of the main parking lot.
Alum Rock Park has a nice children's play area, a visitors center and the Youth Science Institute where visitors can see owls and other animals up close!