Moderately hilly two-hour hike with some steep downhill towards the end. For me, this is one of the best hikes in the park. Three trails leave the Mockingbird parking lot; you will leave and return on the narrow New Almaden Trail. The first 0.1 miles is uphill to the crossing of the Hacienda trail. Head down and along the narrow trail over the small wooden bridge. Between April and May, the next half mile has some of the finest wildflowers you will see anywhere. Like much of the New Almaden trail, this section cuts in and out of canyons as it rises and falls moderately. Cross a small stream and turn sharp right up the slope. At the top of this section the trail turns back to the left and we should take the left fork up through the big berry manzanita to the Buena Vista area. Here you can see the large granite foundations that remain of a building that held a water pump for the Buena Vista Shaft. Follow the trail around on what is almost a contour, passing the Day Tunnel after about 0.5 miles. Continue on another 0.5 miles to the junction of the Randol and Mine Hill trails, where a picnic bench offers a welcome rest. Climb up over Capehorn pass and make a left onto the Hacienda trail, which will return you to the New Almaden trail after about 0.8 miles of quite steep downhill. Smile at the hikers you see coming up the trail, they need all the encouragement they can get.
Wildflower tip: This hike has just about every flower on the site, but here are couple of my favorites. Look for Common Linanthus all along the early part of the hike. The attentive eye will be rewarded with the beautiful California Saxifrage on the right of trail a little past the Day Tunnel area.