Going to San Francisco East Bay
Who's on this trip?
Trip Plan Details
- Anthony Chabot Campground9999 Redwood Road, Castro Valley, CArecommended Anthony Chabot CampgroundAlthough I love to travel far off places and bunk down at Earthwatch research sites, it's been awhile since I have actually gone camping. And Gayle? Her joke is that her idea of roughing it is staying ... read moreat the Best Western, when the Ritz Carlton is full. However, blood is thicker than water and when her daughter-in-law organized a family camping trip, she was all in. The East Bay Regional Park District has it's own Assessment District and I'm happy to contribute every year via my property taxes. It certainly is a better situation currently than State Parks funding. It's also reflected in the high quality recreational experience that is offered and the surprising variety of beautiful nature that is available. Overlooking Lake Chabot is the Chabot Family Campground, a year-round getaway only minutes from Oakland. The camp has 75 trailer, tent, or walk-in campsites, hot showers, Naturalist-led campfire programs, an amphitheater, and hiking/fishing access to Lake Chabot. We camped in Sites 44 and 45, which was in a relatively quiet and peaceful section of the Campground. We had marvelous Family time and even my nature-phobic son thoroughly enjoyed himself. We're already looking forward to trying it again, and maybe even buying a tent! However, there are limits. Gayle was not impressed with my suggestion that we go more rustic during our upcoming trip to Spain. I guess the walking and hosteling along the Camino Santiago will have to wait.Recommended for:Family TravelersEric Brink
Another nice East Bay Regional Park Choice. Sibley Volcanic and Redwood are also nice choices.
- Shell Ridge Open SpaceWalnut Creek, CArecommended Shell Ridge Open SpaceIn the Bay Area, you can pretty much reach wilderness within 10 minutes from where you live. If you reside in Walnut Creek, you can hike for miles and miles within the City Limits! Gayle and I ... read morerecently took a hike that started at the Howe Homestead and ended at Borges Ranch. In between was 2.5 miles of incredible views, wild flowers, barn owl boxes, distant City profiles, and a few red wing blackbirds thrown in. The air was fresh, my legs were strong, my well being was enhanced, and my return will be soon. You can't get better therapy for many times the price!Eric Brink
More great Walnut Creek Open Space.
recommended Lime Ridge Open SpaceLime Ridge Open Space is a vaguely key-shaped parcel of land stretching from Concord south into Walnut Creek. The open space is cut into three chunks by two bisecting roads bustling with auto traffic. ... read moreEach section generally serves the directly adjacent neighborhoods, offering broad dirt trails through rolling grassland, perfect for dog walking (where permitted), and for daily strolls or runs. Historically, lime was mined here, and the land still bears the scars from years of mineral extractions and hints of where later housing development could have occurred. Gayle and I enjoyed a nice scenic stroll though a small section of Lime Ridge as part of one of Mayor Bob's monthly Walnut Creek walks. I continue to be pleasantly surprised on what the WC offers in terms of open space and recreation. Lime Ridge is certainly not a drop dead gorgeous slice of Open Space. However, it's a nice place to unwind, stroll, contemplate and all within a busy suburb that is both in view and far far way.Recommended for:Eric Brink
Lot's of nice Open Space in Walnut Creek.
- Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve5175 Somersville Rd, Antioch, CArecommended Black Diamond Mines Regional PreserveOne of the amazing aspects of Bay Area life is the ability to find yourself in the "middle of nowhere" within a 10-15 minute drive from home. In places like Tilden (Berkeley) or our recent hike around ... read morePhoenix Lake (Ross), the transition from urban to rural is gradual and is often pretty along the way. In the case of Black Diamond Mines, driving from miles of Antioch tract housing to the entrance of this East Bay Regional Park is quite sudden, and in some ways unbelievable that a place like this could even exist on this end of Somersville Road. Gayle and I came here for a hike. One of our goals is to go on a road trip most weekends, and find and new and interesting place to get some exercise. We brought the dog and for a $7 entrance fee (car plus pet), we were in and on our way down a long and long and winding road towards a bit of old East Bay history. The Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve includes the remains of several coal mines and the sites of five long gone coal mining towns (Nortonville, Somersville, Stewartville, West Hartley and Judsonville). The coal mined in these areas was low grade, but for a time in the 19th century, was the only readily accessible and economic source in California. In the 1920s, underground mining for sand began near the deserted Nortonville and Somersville town sites. Our hike included a loop that took us up to the Rose Hill Cemetery, over to the Nortonville Town Site, up and over some scenic rolling hills, and finally back to the Hazel-Atlas Mine entrance. Both Gayle and I particularly enjoyed walking around the cemetery, learning some family history, and gaining additional respect for the hard life of deceased. In the first half of the 20th Century, the Hazel-Atlas Mine produced silica sand to make various glass items. As it was late in the afternoon, the mine was closed to the public, but we did enjoy standing at the entrance and reveling in the cold blast of natural air conditioning. When the mine is open, visitors can take walk in to see its inner workings (ore chutes, RR track, etc.) and some nifty and ancient geological features. Gayle and I would love to come back as we didn't even begin to scratch the hiking and exploration possibilities of this place. And although there are plenty of trees, shade, and some nice picnic areas, it's really hot and brown here in the summer months.Eric Brink
It's a little hot in the Summer, but this East Bay Regional Park has lots of walking and running potential.
recommended Albany BulbKiller views and a great place to walk the dog or even play on the beach. It's pretty easy to get lost and some of the homeless folk are still around if you wander off the main paths long enough. ... read moreThere is literally something amazing to see around almost every corner. In terms of the safety aspects of old rebar and other "road" hazards, you're pretty much on your own. For me that means keeping an eye on my enchanted child.Recommended for:Family TravelersEric Brink
Past the bulb, the Eastshore Trail goes all the way to Point Richmond.
recommended Lafayette ReservoirGayle and I got together and it was such a nice day, that we decided we needed a good long walk to exercise. My son was up for a field trip (but not so much the exercise), so off we went to the ... read moreLafayette Reservoir. It's been a good long while since I've been here. And considering the relatively near proximity to where I work and play, I've taken this fine recreational area too much for granted. Parking can be a little challenging, but patience and enough quarters were on our side. It's a very pleasant 2.7 mile loop around, with enough hills and valleys to make it interesting. There was also a nice playground area for my son to hang out, while Gayle and I hiked and talked. There were also a nice and happy mix of group picnics, friendly leashed dogs, and fellow walkers on our journey that made for interesting people watching and an occasional hello. The next time we come, the paddle boats might be interesting for my son, as might a picnic for parts of our extended family. I also need to remember the hat and the sunscreen for this very fair skinned father.Eric Brink
This is a nice loop.
- Mount Diablo State ParkOak Grove and Northgate Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94598recommended Mount Diablo State ParkMy son uttered those well-known teenage words ' "I'm Bored!", and in this case his Dad felt that way too. Road Trip! So we headed out for Rock City, via the southern entrance to Mt. Diablo State Park. ... read moreIt's a bit of a drive to get out here from the Berkeley area and some folks might ask why I would bother considering that Indian Rock is so close. It's true that the Bay view from the top of Indian Rock is unbeatable, but the valley and Mt. Diablo views are pretty fine too. I also enjoyed the drive to Danville, going past Athenian and up the mountain. Mt. Diablo State Park is certainly another Bay Area treasure that perhaps is too easy to overlook when we have so many options out here. The real reason we went (besides visiting Gayle on the way back), was to trick my son into getting some exercise. He loves to climb and there are more rock combinations (along with the hiking to get to them) than one would ever need. It was a lot of fun for both of us and safer than you might think. And Rock City is a neat family area too, complete with some picnic tables and new friends to scale Sentinel Rock together.Eric Brink
It's a bit of a drive from Oakland, but there's infinite territory and great scenery.