Almaden Quicksilver County Park (a former mercury mine)

March 30, 2014
Santa Clara County
Hikers: Cathy, Laura, Noreen
Distance: 8.88 miles
Elevation gain: 1,597 ft.

Saw this on the drive in.. pretty cool.

"The area that is now the Almaden Quicksilver County Park was once the second largest Mercury (quicksilver) producing mine in the world. This area was a busy mining center for more than 125 years, from as early as 1845 until 1976. Even before that, this area was used by local Ohlone Indians as a source of the deep red mercury-bearing rock, cinnabar. During its mining era, the seven New Almaden mines produced nearly 84 million pounds of the valuable liquid metal used for everything from explosives during the Civil War to silvery Victorian glass and, in the 20th century, battery cells and thermometers." - source

Reduction Works

The base of the tree looks like a fish..

Remnants of the Harry Shaft seen from across the way.

More of the Harry Shaft.

English Camp

No, she did not climb in. Just joshing around..

Still at English Camp.

Wild Cucumber

Prickly Pear

Almaden Reservoir - No eating of the fish! High mercury levels found to be unsafe for comsumption.

I could not find any reference for Hidalgo Cemetery, other than the interred were possibly moved to other cemeteries in the area.

Spanish Town

Rotary Furnace

99.9% sure this is the Hanging Tree - post number 7 of the self guided tour was not found.

"The large cube of granite to the right of this mine entrance was brought, like many others like it, to Mine Hill from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to be used in mining competitions. In these rivalries, a single miner or a team of two, would be timed drilling an iron spike into the rock. You can still see their work. The miners would compete in this way on special occasions both for bragging rights and prizes. Because of the consistent hardness of this kind of rock, it was possible to compare times and drill depths with miners at other locations throughout the state." - source

The mushroom kind of looks like a crab, don't you think?

Powder House (storage for explosives)

April Tunnel Trestle

"This immense chimney is officially designated the Almaden Quicksilver Chimney. It was used to release dangerous sulfuric gases from the Hacienda reduction works high into the air, where (with luck) the wind would carry it away. An unfortunate consequence to all of this sulfuric acid being released into the air was years of acid rain falling on this part of the South Bay." - source
Cool looking clouds seen on the drive home.


Deep Gulch, English Camp, Church Hill, Yellow Kid, Hidalgo Cemetery, Mine Hill, San Cristobal, April.

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