Recently my family and I visited the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park in Almaden Valley. As the bird flies, it’s less than 2 miles from our home, but somehow we hadn’t been there before. We loved it and I thought our readers might enjoy seeing some images and learning more about this cool pocket of nature in suburbia.
There are some informative signs in the park. One stated that there are 15 types of oak trees in California – something I had not previously known. In this park there are several types of oaks, including, I believe live oak, valley oak, black oak, blue oak, and the California buckeye, which is related. (There are some empty or blank sign stands along the trail. For neophyte explorers like myself, it would be great if they would indicate which type of oak is which.)
Guadalupe Oak Grove Park boasts 62.7 acres with paths or trails. Some of these trails are fairly level and not on challenging terrain, while others are more steep. The trails wind through varying types of vegetation. Some parts are dotted with oak tress, others are shrubs or grasses.
It’s located at 5982 Thorntree Drive San Jose, CA 95120 and is open from 8 a.m. to sunset daily. More location info is at the bottom of this post.
This is immediately adjacent to Jeffrey Fontana Park, which has a playground, lawns, and the more typical neighborhood park features, so it’s very convenient to visit both in one day. Guadalupe Oak Grove Park does not have a tot lot, youth playground area, et cetera, per the city of San Jose’s page for this park.
Close to the parking lot there is a shady stretch where you’ll find log benches to the side. It’s a pleasant spot to just relax and watch the birds and other animals.
Other sections are grassland. Right now, they are dried out (so it’s no surprise that barbecues are not allowed here!). It was mild the day we stopped by, but this area might be uncomfortably toasty on a summer day.
Acorn Woodpeckers at Guadalupe Oak Grove Park
Aside from the beautiful topography, what stood out to me the most about this park was the sheer number of acorn woodpeckers. As soon as we entered the park we noticed damage to the eaves on the bathrooms near the parking lot. At first I thought it was from carpenter bees, but probably not.
Soon we noticed them flitting from tree to tree, sometimes stopping to investigate or to peck. Most of the time they moved too fast for me to get a super clear image.
This next one is my favorite photo – two of the Acorn Woodpeckers at a hole in an oak tree.
Squirrels and other herbivores
California ground squirrels with their telltale burrowing holes in the soil were as plentiful as the woodpeckers. They hide in the grasses perfectly. Can you spot the squirrel in this photograph?
The squirrel is hard to find (hint, middle of the photo, just below the large, dark shadow). Here’s a closeup with a kind of wreath around him. Well camouflaged!
We did not see the native rabbits, voles, gophers, or deer, but it’s not hard to picture them in this setting.
Close to this expansive park there’s plenty of water to be found in nearby creeks plus Almaden Lake, so we should not be surprised to find that other wildlife spotted here might include coyotes, bobcats, and perhaps sometimes mountain lions. Just a few years ago, feral pigs were active along Guadalupe Creek in Almaden, too.
Where is the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park?
The address is 5982 Thorntree Drive San Jose, CA 95120
It is close to the intersection of Almaden Expressway and Coleman Road and it connects with Jeffrey Fontana Park on the south.
Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to sunset
See more at the City of San Jose’s park webpage for it