Trip Plan Details
- Alamere FallsPt Reyes National Seashore
- Tilden Regional Park600 Canon Drive, Berkeley, CA 94708-1159recommended Tilden Regional ParkBig park with lots of trails. Can be over crowded and parking lots can get full. Wide spread of activities for families, hikers, bikers - even golf! Interesting park, and nice to get away from the ... read morecity with just a short drive to the hills.Recommended for:Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Redwood Regional ParkCalifornia
- Almaden Quicksilver County ParkMcAbee Road and Camden Avenue, San Jose, CA 95120recommended Almaden Quicksilver County ParkI have been hiking here for years with family and friends. Great spot for a good hike and good views of the Valley. Bring water and food since there is literally nothing for miles if you find yourself ... read morein the park and wanting either. Also beware of mountain lions!Recommended for:
- Mission Peak Regional PreserveFremont, CArecommended Mission Peak Regional PreserveTough hike. This place is super crowded on the weekend. If you want to get a parking spot in the lot, get there at 5 AM or before. Else you will have to park in the neighborhood and walk at least a ... read moremile or two before you get to the entrance. There are two routes to go when you come in here. You can take the main crowded route which takes about a few hours or you can take the long way around which is about twice as long. Either way when you get to the top you get a beautiful view of the bay. Reserve at least a half day for a hike up Mission Peak.Recommended for:recommended Mission Peak Regional PreserveIt's a gorgeous view once you reach the top. Couple of pointers...make sure you get there early (6-7 AM, especially on the weekends) for a couple of reasons. Parking will be hard to find, and the hike ... read morewill be much easier in the mid 60's rather than the mid 80's and sometimes even the mid 90's during the summer. Make sure you bring plenty of water and some snacks as going up will be much harder than coming down. It's a fun trail, so you definitely want to go at least once.Kevin Chen
Popular but a goodie! Perfect to go this time of year if you don't like the heat.
- 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.
- Marin Headlands948, Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965-2608recommended Marin HeadlandsThere is so much beauty within the Bay Area and the Marin Headlands is one of my favourites. And I continue to be amazed on how quickly one can be "Into the Wild" for the front door of the house. I ... read moreespecially like the route where I take the one-way in turn tunnel towards Rodeo Beach and then leave via the Point Bonita Lighthouse and the various military installations. There's also a Visitor Center near the intersection of Field Road and Bunker Road about a mile from Rodeo Beach and a lot of hiking in between. One picture perfect spot is overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge as the fog pours in. And if you're so inclined walk past the gate and down the hill to Kirby Cove for a water-side view. And now today's Historical Footnote: In the 18th century, Spanish and Mexican ranchers occupied the Headlands, eventually giving way to Portuguese immigrant dairy farmers (often from the Azores) during the American period following the U.S. acquisition of California in the Mexican-American War. The Marin Headlands is the site of a number of historic military fortifications, including Fort Cronkite, Fort Barry, a large number of bunkers and batteries, and the SF-88 Nike Missile silo. From the 1890s, the first military installations were built to prevent hostile ships from entering San Francisco Bay. During World War II Batteries Wallace, Townsley, and 129 on Hawk Hill were built into the hills to protect them from aerial bombardment and the high caliber shells that would be fired by Axis battleships. The emplacements at the top of Hawk Hill were used for a radio station. During the Cold War, the gun batteries were decommissioned, but antiaircraft missile sites were built on the northern and southern sides of Rodeo Lagoon. Radar sites were placed atop Hawk Hill and Hill 88. At several locations, shelters were built into the hillsides to protect the military personnel from the use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Everything has now been decommissioned and are in various states of preservation.
- Glen Canyon ParkGlen Park, San Francisco, CArecommended Glen Canyon ParkGayle and I took BART to Glen Park so that we could walk around the neighbourhood and enjoy a nice hike together up the Canyon. I lived in the City about 20 years ago and only discovered this large ... read moreand scenic park only a few years ago. As it turned out, it was a great little explore and exercise excursion, and one that we would love to do more often. It's also a fun place to bring the dog. The Park offers an experience of San Francisco's diverse terrains as they appeared before the intense development of the region in the late 19th and the 20th Centuries. The park incorporates free-flowing Islais Creek and the associated riparian habitat, an extensive grassland with adjoining trees that supports aviary breeding, striking rock outcrops, and arid patches covered by "coastal scrub" plant communities. Elevations in Glen Canyon Park range from approximately 225 feet (above sea level) at the south end of the park to 575 feet at the north end and along the east rim of the canyon. Formal recreational facilities in Glen Canyon Park are mostly located at its southern end. These facilities include a community recreation center, ball fields and tennis courts, and playgrounds. The park is also well-used by local rock climbers. A lonely looking building about halfway up the canyon near Islais Creek serves as....? The park is easily entered at its southeastern corner (we walked to the end of Chenery Street). Somewhat further north, there is a wooden stairway leading down into the park (the Sussex Street entrance). There are also trails leading into the park from the Diamond Heights Shopping Center. Gayle and I also noticed that it was warm in the Canyon, while it was cool below in the Glen Park business district, and cold and foggy "upstairs" on Portola. We were also surprised as we walked back down along O'Shaughnessy on how much elevation we had climbed, as the hike up was so gradual that it almost seemed flat.
- Point Pinole Regional ShorelineRichmond, CArecommended Point Pinole Regional ShorelineThe Point Pinole Regional Shoreline (on San Pablo Bay) is a scenic 2200 acres expanse operated by the East Bay Regional Park District. It is on the site of a number of former explosives factories; the ... read morelargest of these was operated by the Giant Powder Company. These facilities were relocated to this relatively remote spot following accidental explosions at its former sites in San Francisco and Albany. Although the Giant factory operated until 1960, little trace of it now remains, other than its former tramway grades, which provide a network of nearly 12 miles of gently sloping paths for hiking, cycling and horse-riding. The other relic of the park's industrial past are the large number of eucalyptus groves which were planted around the factory site "for safety reasons". The park is a promontory, located where the East Bay shoreline turns from running south towards Berkeley and Oakland to running eastwards, inland. It thus offers superb views across the bay in all directions, towards San Francisco to the southwest, Mount Tamalpais and the Marin Headlands to the northwest, and inland across San Pablo Bay to the north and east. Fresh and ocean waters mix at this point, so the marine life is rich; a leisure pier has been built at the end of promontory, replacing a former jetty used by the factories, and is a popular location for fishing. I have crossed the tracks many times to walk into Point Pinole. It's great for a short day trip that could include a nice picnic and a modest and easy hike. We've also taken the dog to beach. The only downside is that it can get a bit cold and windy out there. I also consider this place's relative isolation to be a big plus. Sometimes getting to places is half the fun.
recommended Rodeo BeachRodeo Beach is located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and a pleasant Marin drive to get out here. It's a great place to bring Fido, hang out with the family (or alone), hike around, ... read moreor just drink in another slice of paradise. And isn't it marvelous that in the Bay Area you can be out in the middle of nowhere within minutes of whatever urban locale you're living? Among the old military buildings you'll also find the California Marine Mammal Center. The organization was established in 1975 for rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing injured marine mammals. It also serves as a center for environmental research and education regarding marine mammals, namely cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). I've known a few of their enthusiastic volunteers, and it's just one of the many reasons to come out here and enjoy.
- Iron Horse Regional TrailIron Horse Regional Trail, Walnut Creek CArecommended Iron Horse Regional TrailThe Iron Horse Regional Trail is a pedestrian and bicycle trail that passes over 40 miles through various Alameda and Contra Costa County cities ranging from Concord to Pleasanton. The trail also ... read moredirectly connects to both the Dublin/Pleasanton and Pleasant Hill BART stations, and there there are long-term plans to do the same with Walnut Creek BART. An Iron Horse is a Railroad Horse (of course of course), and it mostly follows the an old Southern Pacific right of way that was established in 1891 and abandoned in 1977. The 2 Counties purchased the right of way at that time, intending to use it as a transportation corridor. The Iron Horse Trail was first established in 1986. I've only sampled a little bit of the Iron Horse Trail, mostly around Downtown Walnut Creek or using it to safely cross over YVR and Treat Blvd. Gayle and I plan to do a little more as we tune up our bikes and hiking shoes, and better take advantage of this wonderful outdoor opportunity.
- Howe Homestead Park2950 Walnut Boulevard, Walnut Creek, CArecommended Howe Homestead ParkThe park is named after James P. Howe one of the earliest and best-known Associated Press world correspondents. Jim and his wife Mia purchased the property in 1910 and lived there till 1970. Jim ... read moretraveled the world interviewing well know personalities and reporting on the events of that era. Jim called his home "Gopher Gulch" due to the vast number of gopher holes. He retired here in 1935. For hikers, the six-and-a-half acre park is next to the Shell Ridge Open Space preserve. Hikers can start on the Kovar Trail and walk to the crest of Mount Diablo 10 miles away. Walnut Creek continues to provide pleasant surprised regarding their open space and other outdoor activities. The old Homestead Site is well maintained, pretty, and for us a good starting point for a brisk hike. And 2.5 miles later, we arrived at Borges Ranch.
- Phoenix Lake Ross, California, United Statesrecommended Phoenix LakeGayle and I try to take a good hike every weekend, except maybe when my son is in town. He needs the exercise too, but actually getting him on the trail is often more effort than the hike itself. We ... read morelike to take Yogi too, and as long as we bring a bowl and some water, this happy and sure footed dog will go for miles. I vaguely remember looping around Phoenix Lake with a friend about 5 years ago, and kept this hike in the back of my mind for a repeat trek. Yesterday was the day, as we were looking for an invigorating walk, a pretty locale, and a decent road trip. We skipped the Ross Commons "park and walk" idea and headed straight to the end of Lagunitas Road. Maybe it was the heat or our Noon arrival, but parking spots were plentiful, and we almost had the entire peaceful lake to ourselves. We should have perhaps paid more attention to the map or our on-line research. After walking up to Phoenix Lake, we immediately turned left, thinking we would loop around clockwise. However, we missed the required right turn up the canyon and ended up following the creek some more and looping up and left to Phoenix Road and then back down to our original lake trail. At the same time, we felt virtuously exercised, and eager to return soon to Phoenix Lake soon to get it right. The only other thing I would have liked to know before coming here, was where to go after wards for outside seating, a cold beer, and an adjacent place to park the dog. It turned out that the Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur was one of those places.Eric Brink
Gayle and I try to take a good hike every weekend, except maybe when my son is in town. He needs the exercise too, but actually getting him on the trail is often more effort than the hike itself. We like to take Yogi too, and as long as we bring a bowl and some water, this happy and sure footed dog will go for miles.
I vaguely remember looping around Phoenix Lake with a friend about 5 years ago, and kept this hike in the back of my mind for a repeat trek. Yesterday was the day, as we were looking for an invigorating walk, a pretty locale, and a decent road trip. We skipped the Ross Commons "park and walk" idea and headed straight to the end of Lagunitas Road. Maybe it was the heat or our Noon arrival, but parking spots were plentiful, and we almost had the entire peaceful lake to ourselves.
We should have perhaps paid more attention to the map or our on-line research. After walking up to Phoenix Lake, we immediately turned left, thinking we would loop around clockwise. However, we missed the required right turn up the canyon and ended up following the creek some more and looping up and left to Phoenix Road and then back down to our original lake trail. At the same time, we felt virtuously exercised, and eager to return soon to Phoenix Lake soon to get it right.
The only other thing I would have liked to know before coming here, was where to go after wards for outside seating, a cold beer, and an adjacent place to park the dog. It turned out that the Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur was one of those places.
- Sugarloaf Open Space2161 Youngs Valley Road Walnut Creek, CA 94596recommended Sugarloaf Open SpaceWalnut Creek continues to pleasantly surprise me in terms of their plethora a diverse Open Space. The City is almost its own East Bay Regional Park District in some ways. So when Gayle and I arrived ... read moreat in South Walnut Creek at the Sugarloaf Open Space, I could only say Wow....again. Sugarloaf Recreation Area encompasses 177 acres of open land and along an upper ridge line that provides views of Mt. Diablo, Shell Ridge, Las Trampas Ridge and the Briones Hills. You will also find: - A 15 acre Black Walnut orchard is also located on the preserve, which provides a wildlife habitat and shade. - A Creekway that provides a dense cover of riparian vegetation for wildlife and nature study areas. - Picnic and group barbecue areas, rest rooms, extensive hiking and equestrian trails (with trail connections to Rudgear Park and Shell Ridge Open Space). Although the area is heavily grazed, it provides a glimpse of what a working ranch is like with its gardens, orchard and outbuildings. And when I hiked up on the ridge and looked across to the line between houses and open space, it was easy to see how the County and the City had really parted ways in their development strategies since the 1970s. Walnut Creekers can their forward thinking patriarchs and matriarchs for that.
- 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.
- Old Borges Ranch1035 Castle Rock Road, Walnut Creek, CArecommended Old Borges RanchThe former ranch of early Walnut Creek pioneer Frank Borges is the home base for Walnut Creek's Shell Ridge Open Space activities. The ranch complex includes a blacksmith shop, numerous outbuildings, ... read moreand farm equipment displays. It also features a barn and covered trellis available for group reservations. The Borges family home, built in 1901, houses historical displays of the early 1900's. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Gayle and I have been here for Heritage Day and recently at the end of a cool 2.5 mile hike that started at the old Howe Homestead. Borges Ranch and the nearly Bob Pond Area is a wonderful place to take the family and explore history among the great outdoors.
recommended Angel Island State ParkI have visited Angel Island via Ferry and Sail Boat. I think it's more enjoyable to get there from Tiburon (which has it's own set of activities on either end of the trip). Amazing views, good hiking ... read moreand historical perspective abound. Food service is limited which is another reason to plan a picnic and enjoy the peacefullness of this place. Less touristy and crowded than the Alcatraz option, although both have interesting history and the views.
- 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!
recommended Tennessee BeachThere are lots of hiking options in the Marin Headlands, some of which branch off this trail. This is a nice and easy 3 mile walk to and from the beach. There are great views and lots of nice people ... read moreout and about. But it can get cold and foggy and finding parking takes some vigilance.Eric Brink
A nice easy hike
- Acalanes Ridge Open SpaceCuesta Way, Walnut Creek, Californiarecommended Acalanes Ridge Open SpaceWalnut Creek continues to pleasantly surprise me with the variety of Open Space that it offers within its City Limits. Thanks to Mayor Bob's Walks and Gayle's CERT Volunteers, I now had to pleasure of ... read morehiking around Shell Ridge (starting at Howe Homestead and ending at Borges Ranch), Lime Ridge, Sugarloaf Ridge, and now Acalanes Ridge. My Acalanes Ridge Hike was part of Mayor Bob's 2nd Saturday Walks (the August one will be through Rossmoor) and started in Larkey Park with ~30 fellow travelers. It was a decent climb up and with a spectacular 360 Degree view at the Top. What I love about the Bay Area is the ability to be anywhere, hop in the car, take off on foot, and be in the middle of nowhere inside in around 10 minutes. This hike was no exception, although the Top might be a little shorter hike from the Lafayette side. There's also a small satellite Acalanes Ridge Open Space to the South that's next on my list. Then of course there's all those nearby and yet unexplored East Bay Regional Parks and Mt. Diablo State Park trails. Maybe a membership in the Orinda Hiking Club is in our future?Recommended for:
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
There's a nice lower trail and a more strenuous upper trail.
- Lands End TrailLands End Trail, San Francisco, CA 94121recommended Lands End TrailRecommended for:
- Fernwood CemeteryTamalpais-Homestead Valley, California, United Statesrecommended Fernwood CemeteryUnique among cemeteries for the way it blends in with the natural beauty of the landscape, it truly is a place of serenity. Walking through the cemetery also leads to a number of trails that lead ... read moreoutside of its boundaries and follows the mountain ridge overlooking the Bay.Recommended for:
- Russian Ridge Open Space PreserveRedwood City, CArecommended Russian Ridge Open Space PreserveOne of the most beautiful hiking spots in the Bay Area - tall grass, sweeping views and loads of wildflowers in the spring. There is not a lot of shade here, so wear sunscreen, but most of the trails ... read moretake you along the edge of steep rolling hills with views all the way down to the pacific on a clear day. Also a great place for mountain biking.
- Butano State Park1500 Cloverdale Rd, Pescadero, California, USArecommended Butano State ParkProbably my favorite camping spot on the peninsula. Butano is tucked off a road through rolling farmland near the coast. It is such an amazing surprise to turn in and find yourself amongst giant ... read moreold-growth redwoods, Douglas firs and ferns. There are some fantastic hikes - Little Butano Creek and Jackson Flats are both great for enjoying the redwoods. Skip six bridges. There are walk in and drive-up campsites. Both are nice and set amongst the redwoods. They have bathrooms and running water for drinking. Each day we were here we hiked the forests in the morning then went to the beach in the afternoon. Pretty hard to beat that!
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park21600 Big Basin Way # 406, Boulder Creek, CArecommended Big Basin Redwoods State ParkLovely park in the Santa Cruz mountains. California's oldest state park (since Yosemite became a national park). Camping can fill up in the summer and on holiday weekends so plan ahead.
- Henry W. Coe State Park9000 E Dunne Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA
- Mount TamalpaisMill Valley, CA 94941recommended Mount TamalpaisWhile nearby Muir Woods gets all the press, Mt. Tamalpais, beneath whose slopes they're nestled, is no less stunning. A favorite for cyclists and hikers (there are hundreds of miles of trails in the ... read morepark), the grassy southern slopes of the mountain near the summit offer one of the most spectacular panoramas in the Bay Area - a view out over the Pacific and the peninsula stretching away to the south. Best of all, the crowds of Muir Woods are nowhere to be seen. Go at an off-peak time and you might not meet another hiker.Matthew Crompton
Hundreds of miles of trails, amazing views, and no crowds.