San José is home to nine sprawling regional parks and over 195 neighborhood parks, many with reservable picnic areas for small or large group gatherings.
Located in some of the valley’s most picturesque surroundings, their natural environments are a perfect background for any special occasion. Given the large number of choices available, park staff can help you navigate our park system and find the best location for your event.PICNIC RESERVATIONS >
View the locations below and call (408) 794-7275 for assistance.
View and Book available Picnic Sites
Alum Rock ParkCategories:
- Picnic Areas
For Alum Rock Park picnic reservation concerns, please call (408) 794-7275.
Park & Trail Updates
In December 2019, the South Rim Switchbacks were closed (from No Horse Bridge to the top of Sycamore Switchbacks) due to concerns regarding the integrity of the retaining wall.
A-Frame barricades with signage have been posted along with caution tape across trail at the beginning of South Rim Trail (after no-horse Bridge, passed the two benches) and at the junction of Sycamore Switchbacks. Informational signs for the public have been posted on the reader boards about the trail closure.
There is no timeframe on when the trail will be open to the public.
- For the most up to date trail closures and updates, please visit the department closure and under repair page.
- No dogs / pets allowed inside Alum Rock Park
- Mon-Sun: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Please note: Closing time is one half hour after sunset. 6:00 PM is subject to change depending on the season.
Mountain Lion Sightings at Alum Rock Park
FREE parking at the Eagle Rock & Rustic Lands parking lots has been adopted as an ongoing community benefit beginning July 1, 2017. This means you can continue to park for FREE inside Alum Rock Park at these locations (except on Holidays). We encourage everyone to use this free parking to reduce impact on the neighborhoods surrounding the park. The Alum Rock Visitor Center & Youth Science Institute parking lots will still cost $6.00 per vehicle for daily parking, or you can use a Regional Parks Annual Parking Pass. The Holiday parking rate for all Alum Rock parking lots will be $10.00 per vehicle.
- 2017 Lariat Fire Information
- Alum Rock Map
- Alum Rock Regional Park Brochure
- Alum Rock Rules and Regulations
- Alum Rock Picnic Area Fees
- Hiking Map
- Trail Report
- Junior Ranger Brochure (Print and Bring to an Alum Rock Ranger and receive your prize!)
For park closures, updates and notices please follow the links below:
- News and Announcements (Holiday closures, visiting hour changes)
- Emergency and Alerts (Fire hazard closures, weather related alerts)
**All Alum Rock Park visitors are requested to park in the parking lot and not on surface streets outside the park.
**No dogs / pets allowed inside Alum Rock Park.
**Balloons are prohibited at the park
Alum Rock Park
Alum Rock Park was founded in 1872 and is one of California’s oldest municipal parks. Nestled within the Alum Rock Canyon in the foothills of the Diablo Range, the Park's 720 acres of natural, rugged beauty, provide visitors with many leisure outdoor activities including hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, family and group picnicking, and of course just relaxing. Picnic tables, barbecue pits, water and restrooms are available in most picnic areas, with lawns and a children's playground in the mid-canyon area.
From 1890 to 1932 the park was a nationally known health spa with 27 mineral springs, an indoor swimming pool, tea garden, restaurant, and dance pavilion. At the time you could ride from downtown San Jose to the park on the Alum Rock Steam Railroad, a ride that cost a quarter. Today, remnants of the railroad bridges can be seen, some of the stone grottos that contain mineral springs are still accessible, but now the charms of the park focus on nature, wildlife, and hiking.
There are approximately 13 miles of trails including six miles of horse trails and three miles of bicycle trails. Hikers are welcome on all trails, while equestrian and cyclists are required to use designated trails only. Please observe trail usage signs; don’t endanger yourself and others by using inappropriate trails.
Alum Rock Park trails are the portal to Santa Clara County Open Space Authority Trails. Occasionally OSA trails are closed due to poor weather conditions, please visit http://www.openspaceauthority.org/ for trail status.
If you would like to report maintenance issues, or an experience of concern, on one of the Alum Rock Park trails you may download this trail report. Please Submit or Fax to: CITY OF SAN JOSE, Alum Rock Park Rangers, 1300 Senter Rd., San Jose, CA 95113 Ranger Office (408) 259-5477 Fax (408) 729-8742
Reservable picnic areas can accommodate groups up to 300. Each area includes tables, barbecue grills, and nearby restrooms. Some of the more secluded sites require a short walk from the parking lot since vehicles are not allowed into the area. You may make on line reservations, but please call 408-794-7275 if you have questions about your chosen site.
During the fire season the use of fires and barbecues may be severely restricted, or the park may be closed to the public due to extreme fire conditions. For any concerns please call the Alum Rock Rangers Office.
Activities / Camps / Classes
Alum Rock Park staff offer a variety of educational programs for school children and other groups, and hosts a Summer Camp during the months of June, July, and August. Summer Camp is open to children 5-14 years and includes hiking, exploring creek waters, bird watching and other recreational activities.
The Youth Science Institute is a non-profit Science and Nature Center that has been open to the public since 1953. They offer school activities and have a museum open to the public Tuesday-Friday 12:00pm-4:00pm and on Saturday 12:00pm-4:30pm. Please visit http://www.ysi-ca.org/ for details on their programs.
The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority offers free walks that meet inside Alum Rock Park. Please visit their website for information http://www.openspaceauthority.org/.
The unique east-west canyon and its steep sides contain many delicate plant and animal communities. Soils on the north canyon slopes are held in place by a variety of grasses, poison oak, holly leaf-cherry, sagebrush, and scattered live oak trees. Quiet, observant hikers can see black-tailed deer, brush rabbits and quail. Red tailed hawks and turkey vultures can frequently be seen riding the air currents over-head.
The opposite or south side of the canyon offers a totally different natural community. Trees such as the California black oak, bay, madrone, and California buckeye are abundant, while smaller shrubs like the toyon, wild rose, and wild blackberries are found in more sunny areas. The chattering of gray squirrels and Steller's jays are common sounds. On rare occasions, a hiker might see - only for an instant - the elusive bobcat as it disappears into the dense brush.
Penitencia Creek is lined with big-leaf maple white alder, and western sycamore. Wild honey-suckle vines, the arroyo and red willow add to its lush plant life.
Spring provides the park with color from a variety of wild flowers including the California poppy and sticky monkey flower. Ferns are prevalent during the winter and spring months. Alum Rock Park must be seen during all its seasons to be truly appreciated.
Parking Fees are collected daily.
When the parking booth is unattended please use one of the automated machines.
Each automated machine accepts credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover Card) and cash.
Please bring exact currency as the machines do not dispense change.
Parking Passes are honored at Alum Rock Park, Lake Cunningham, Almaden Lake, and Kelley Park/Happy Hollow.
- $6.00 Daily Pass
- $2.00 Discounted Daily Pass (discount card required)*
- $10.00 for the following high use days:
- Easter Sunday
- Mother’s Day
- Father's Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- $80.00 Annual Pass
- $30.00 Discounted Annual Pass*
*Discount eligibility: Age 60 or older, Disabled Person Parking (DMV Issued DP Paperwork needed), Military Veterans, or Active Military. DD214,or active military card for eligibility - Applications for discount must be submitted to Leininger Center (inside of Kelley Park) IN ADVANCE of your visit.
Please call Leininger Center for additional information and questions. 408-794-7275.
Planning & Historic Documents
- Alum Rock Park Gateway & Wayfinding Study Hi Res (40mb) and Low Res (13mb)
- Historic Resources Report (2008)
- Development Plan (1929)
- Cultural and Natural History (1972)
- Cultural and Natural History (2000)
- Acreage: 720
- Reservable Picnic Sites: Yes
- Non-Reservable Picnic Sites: Yes
- BBQ: Yes
- Sand volleyball
- bird watching
- Tot Lot: Yes
- Youth Playground: Yes
- Restrooms: Yes
- Parking: Parking lots - $6 daily fees apply
Report a Concern
- 1-408-793-5510 or email a concern
Water Play Structure Currently Closed.
Recent clean-up efforts by hard working Alum Rock Park volunteers has made an area once thick with thistles accessible to natural wildlife...like deer!