Moderately hilly tour past many of the park's main historical sites. The parking area is reached by driving up to the summit of Hicks Road, where your hike starts at an altitude of 1400'. The first 0.5 miles takes you through a wonderful variety of habitat, begining under full cover, crossing a stretch of chaparral, then emerging into rolling grassy hills. About half way along, you will pass a very odd pointy rocky outcrop on your left. Things get interesting as you approach the rotary furnace. Note the bamboo and pampas grass left over from cultivated areas, and look for the "Hanging Tree" on your right. The rotary furnace itself is fenced off and is in bad shape, but still one of the most impressive structures in the park. Take the steep but mercifully short hill up to the left and turn left onto the Castillero trail. In July and August, you will pass between massive blooms of Spanish Broom all along this stretch. As the broom opens up, on a clear day, you will be able to see all the way to the Marin Headlands, with the majesty of Mt Umunhum on towering on your left. The picnic bench at Bull Run offers shade and a nice spot to rest and admire the views. If time permits, the picnic table at the end of the Catherine Tunnel section offers an amazing view of South San Jose. Next head down the Mine Hill trail to the San Cristobal Mine, the only accessible mine entrance in the park. Notice how warm it is inside the short tunnel in the winter, and how cool in summer. Continue on down under the trees, taking the right fork to English Camp, where you can read plaques about the time when thousands of people lived and worked in these hills. The narrow Yellow Kid trail offers more plaques, views, and history as you climb gently back up to the Castillero trail. Follow the trail around back to the rotary furnace and on back to the parking area.
Wildflower tip: As mentioned above, the Spanish broom is a sight to behold along the Castillero trail. Look for Periwinkle all around the English Camp area, left over from the gardens of the people that lived and worked here.