Almaden Valley (often just called Almaden) is an upper-middle class neighborhood of about 37,000 in the southeastern portion of San Jose, California. It is one of Silicon Valley’s most attractive residential areas distinguished by rolling hillsides and a rural Old California ambience. The neighborhood is south east of the town of Los Gatos, west of the Santa Teresa neighborhood of San Jose and south of Coleman Rd. at the southern end of the Blossom Hill neighborhood of San Jose. It is named after the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines, which were named after the mercury mine in (old) Almadén, Spain, and produced mercury that was used to process ore during the Gold Rush. The valley is located between the Santa Teresa Hills and the Santa Cruz Mountains, with Mount Umunhum to the west dominating the local geography.
California’s Almaden had a number of quicksilver mines producing more than $75 million in mineral wealth from the Gold Rush era to the 1970’s. The mercury was used during gold extraction in the California Gold Rush, but the mines were closed in 1975 and have been converted into the Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
The key local attraction is the Almaden Quicksilver County Park, spectacular in natural diversity and a landmark of California history. The park is the site of over 135 years of mining activities and former home to more than 1,800 miners and their families. The park encompasses 4,152 acres, occupying a majority of Capitancillos Ridge. During early spring, the park offers one of the most spectacular wildflower displays in the region. Remnants of the mining era also offer an exciting look into the mining operations of the latter part of the 19th century.