Places We Hike

Here's a list of some of the places in the Bay Area we like to hike with our kids. Some are stroller-friendly, others only work with a front or back carrier. Check the discussion groups and meet up with us sometime!

Berkeley's Pathways (Berkeley) — We meet at Peet's Coffee at the top of Solano Avenue. From there, we explore the paths and stairs (so this won't work with strollers) of Berkeley. Note that there is un-metered parking around the corner on The Alameda.

Big Springs Trail in Tilden Park (Berkeley) — From Berkeley or Oakland, take Claremont Avenue up behind the Claremont Hotel, and turn left on Grizzly Peak. From Moraga the best way to get there is to take the Fish Ranch Road exit from 24. Follow the road up and turn right at Grizzly Peak.
Continue on Grizzly Peak past the little trains and turn right on South Park Drive. After about 3/4 mile, go past the parking lot for the Big Springs picnic area on the right. Soon after that, there is a dirt lot on the right which is the Big Springs trail head where we meet. Map

Bort Meadow Staging Area, Anthony Chabot Park (Castro Valley) — Meet at 9:30am at the Bort Meadow Staging Area of Chabot Park. Bort Meadow is on the "back side" of the park, on Redwood Road, about halfway between Pinehurst Road to the north, and Marciel Road to the south.

Briones Park (Contra Costa County), Bear Creek staging area — Meet at 9:30 am. Take 24 through the tunnel to Orinda. Take the Camino Pablo exit. Turn left onto Camino Pablo, continue for about a mile. Turn right on Bear Creek Road. Drive for about four miles then turn onto Briones Road. Go to to the Bear Creek staging area. This hike is fairly difficult but since we are men we can handle it. More info

Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley Marina (Berkeley)Cesar Chavez Park is a good place for stroller-friendly walks, kite flying, and views of the bay. We meet at the end of Spinnaker Way (it's the farthest northwest you can drive at the Berkeley Marina). Map

Huckleberry Botanic Preserve (Oakland) — Meet in the dirt parking lot at Huckleberry Preserve, on Skyline Blvd just south of Sibley, and north of Redwood Park, between Broadway Terrace and Snake Road.

If you go up Snake Road, turn left on Skyline, and then right into the Huckleberry parking lot. If you go up Fish Ranch Road (from east of the tunnel), turn left on Grizzly Peak, left on Skyline, then left into the Huckleberry parking lot.

This hike isn't stroller-friendly (back- or front-packs only).

Inspiration Point, Tilden Park (Berkeley) — We meet in the Inspiration Point parking lot and do a relaxed hike/walk on the paved (and very stroller-friendly) trail.

From Grizzly Peak, take Shasta Road into the park, go past the Brazil Building and the Botanical Gardens where the road turns into Wildcat Canyon Road, then go about 1.5 miles farther on Wildcat Canyon Road to the Inspiration Point parking lot on your left.

Street map Trail map

Joaquin Miller Park (Oakland) — From Hwy 13, take the Joaquin Miller Rd./Lincoln Ave exit and go east on Joaquin Miller Rd. 0.8 miles to the Woodminster Amphitheatre entrance. Park on Joaquin Miller Rd. and meet at the yellow gate by the Woodminster sign. Map

Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area (El Sobrante) — We meet in the parking lot at Kennedy Grove. There is a very nice flat picnic area, a reasonably nice playground there, and the possibility of seeing various birds of prey – including golden or bald eagles and red tailed hawks.

Kennedy Grove is on San Pablo Dam Road, east of Wildcat Canyon, just north of San Pablo Dam Reservoir. Map (the star on the map is a little north of Kennedy Grove.)

King Mountain (Marin) — Nice hike with beautiful views. Driving directions and hike details can be found here. This 3.3 mile hike should be do-able with a backpack or jog stroller.

Lafayette Reservoir Recreation Area (Lafayette) — Instead of strolling the lovely paved path around the reservoir, we'll attack the Rim Trail. Bring lots of water! Trail info

From Highway 24 in Contra Costa County, exit Mount Diablo Boulevard/Acalanes Road/Upper Happy Valley Road. Drive east on Mount Diablo Boulevard about 1 mile, then turn right at the Lafayette Reservoir sign. Stay to the right, drive uphill on the one way street, then bear left, toward day use parking. Bring lots of quarters for the meters in the parking lot.

Lafayette Ridge Trail in Briones Park (Lafayette) — Meet in the parking lot at 9:30. Directions: From Highway 24 in Contra Costa County, exit Pleasant Hill Road. Drive north on Pleasant Hill Road about 1 mile to the second traffic light (Springhill Road), make a u-turn, then drive south on Pleasant Hill Road and take the first right into the parking lot. Map Park info

Lake Chabot (Castro Valley) — We meet at inside the Lake Chabot family campground, at the end of Marciel Road, at the Honker Bay trailhead. The hike is about 2 miles.

To get there, take Redwood Road to Marciel Road, and then follow Marciel into the family campground and all the way to the end (staying right whenever there's an option). Meet at the Honker Bay trailhead at 9:30 am.

Map to the park | Trail map

Leona Canyon Regional Open Space (Oakland) — To get to there, take 580 to the Keller Avenue exit, head east (into the hills) on Keller for about 3/4 of a mile and turn left on Campus Drive. Almost immediately after the turn, turn right into the parking lot or staging area at Canyon Oaks Drive. Map

Lower Jordan Fire Trail (Berkeley) — The trailhead is in the dirt parking lot on the right (South) side of Centennial Drive, about 1/2 mile above the intersection of Centennial Drive and Stadium Rim Way, just before the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens. Highlights include a redwood grove and views of the City and Marin. The full loop takes about 2 hours (including a 15-20 minute break) and has a few challenging uphill sections, but fortunately, almost all of the uphill sections are well shaded. Map (the fire trail is near the bottom). Directions to the Botanical Gardens (but note that the parking lot for this hike is before the Gardens).

MacDonald Staging Area, Chabot Park (Oakland) — Depending on heat and everyone's mood, the hike might be up the big ol' hill in Chabot Park, or might be across the street into Redwood Park. This hike is probably only for babies in front- or back-packs, jog strollers would be difficult.

To get to the MacDonald Staging Area, take 580 to 35th Avenue and head East up into the hills, continuing up as 35th turns into Redwood Road. (Or take 13 to Redwood Road and head East.) Cross Skyline and continue downhill about one mile. The MacDonald Staging area is a large dirt lot on the right side of the road. If you get to Redwood Gate on the left, you've gone too far. Map

Montclair Village Trail (Oakland) — Above Monclair Village, at the top of La Salle Avenue, there is a nice paved trail that runs up into the hills. This hike is jog-stroller friendly. We typically meet first at either Peet's or Royal Grounds and depart from there. Map (The star is at Royal Grounds.)

Newt Breeding Lagoons in Briones Park (Martinez) — Every January, we try to observe the wild and crazy mating cycle of newts. We meet at the end of Briones Road on the north side of Briones Park. Follow the directions on this map, then drive all the way up Briones road to the parking lot at the end, then hike in to Sindicich and Maricich Lagoons.

Point Pinole (Richmond) — We meet in the parking lot at Point Pinole, then hike the trails (no big hills) and enjoy the bay views, wildflowers, and shoreline.

From the 80, take the Richmond Parkway exit and head west. After San Pablo Ave, turn right at Giant Highway. The park entrance will be on the left. Map

Quarry Staging Area, Tilden Park (Berkeley) — From Grizzly Peak, take Shasta Road into the park, go past the Brazil Building and the Botanical Gardens where the road turns into Wildcat Canyon Road, then go about 3/4 miles farther on Wildcat Canyon to the Quarry site on your right. This hike is probably not jog-stroller friendly.

Street map Trail map

Redwood Gate of Redwood Park (Oakland) — We meet at the parking lot at the end of the road at the main entrance to Redwood Park. Some trails from here are paved and/or stoller friendly.

Take 580 to 35th Avenue and head East up into the hills, continuing up as 35th turns into Redwood Road. (Or take 13 to Redwood Road and head East.) Cross Skyline and continue downhill about one mile. The Redwood Gate entrance is on the left. Continue past the kiosk, and past several trail heads, to the parking lot at the end of the road. Map

Ring Mountain (Marin) — We meet at the Endeavor trailhead at Ring Mountain in Corte Madera, about 30 minutes from Oakland/Berkeley. The hike is jog-stroller friendly.

Mapquest Map | Local Street and Trail Map

Roberts Park (Oakland) — We meet at the brand-spankin'-new playground at Roberts Park. It's on Skyline Blvd, about a half mile North of where Joaquin Miller Road hits Skyline. Pay the friendly automated ranger, then look for the playground on the left, up the hill just above the pool. There are several trails from Roberts Park that lead into Redwood or Joaquin Miller parks. Map

Sequoia Bayview Trail, Joaquin Miller Park (Oakland) — This is a very easy trail for the medium sized kids to walk on, or for jog strollers, backpacks, etc. for the littler ones. It winds along a level grade in the shade of Sequoias, then offers a great view of the bay. Thus the name...

To get there, take 13 to Joaquin Miller Road, and go East to the top of the hill. At the light, turn left on to Skyline Blvd. Follow Skyline a short way, around a hairpin right turn, and look for the trail head on the left. Park on the side of the road. The route we take is a simple out-and-back on Sequoia Bayview Trail, so late-comers should have no trouble finding the group. The more ambitious hikers can also choose to make a loop of it.

Trail Map (Sequoia Bayview trail is on the bottom right)

SF Bay Trail Bike Ride (Berkeley) — We meet in the parking lot at Cesar Chavez park in the Berkeley Marina (head West on University, then North on Marina). From there, we ride our bikes (with or without kids) back out University and then North on the Bay Trail, maybe as far as Marina Bay, and back. Map

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve (Oakland)Sibley is a great spot for wildflowers, and generally a nice place for a hike. Here's a trail map.

Sibley is on Skyline Road, just south of the intersection with Grizzly peak, between Redwood and Tilden parks. Map

Skyline Gate of Redwood Park (Oakland) — From the Skyline Gate parking lot, there are several options. A nice loop is to hike down the Stream Trail, then back up Tres Sendas, and back along West Ridge. This hike is not stroller friendly. Trail Map

The Skyline Gate parking lot is located at the Northwest end of the park, on Skyline Blvd (between Shepard Canyon Road and Joaquin Miller Road). Map

Sobrante Ridge Botanic Park (El Sobrante) — There's a nice 3 mile hike (up to the ridge and back). To get to Sobrante Ridge, take 80 to the El Portal Drive exit. Turn right on El Portal Drive, then left at the T on to San Pablo Dam Road. Continue about 3 miles on San Pablo Dam Road and turn left on Castro Ranch Road (if you get to Kennedy Grove, you've gone too far). After about a mile on Castro Ranch Road, turn left on Conestoga Way; at the end of that turn left on Carraige Drive; at the end of that turn right onto Coach Drive and follow it to the staging area at the end of Coach Drive. Street Map | Trail Map

Steam Train Parking Lot Trailhead in Tilden (Berkeley) — We meet in the parking lot for the steam trains at the very south end of Tilden Park, on Grizzly Peak. There are trail heads there for a number of hikes. Driving Map | Trail Map

Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide (San Rafael) — Directions are here. This hike works with a front/backpack or jog stroller.

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, Alvarado Staging Area (El Cerritto) — Meet at the Alvarado Staging Area as described here (follow the directions under "Getting there").

There are several options for trail routes. For anal types who like to plan ahead, here's a trail map

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, Clark Road entrance (El Sobrante) — The Clark Road entrance to Wildcat Canyon (off of San Pablo Dam Road).

Road map to the trail head.

Trail map.

Wildcat Peak Trail, Tilden Park (Berkeley) — Wildcat Peak trail in north Tilden Park (Berkeley). The hike should take about 1 ½ hours. This hike is for babies in front- or back-packs, and is probably not doable with a jog stroller.
Park map | Street map

From east of the Caldecott Tunnel:
From Highway 24, take the Fish Ranch Rd. exit east of the Caldecott Tunnel, drive uphill, and turn right on Grizzly Peak Blvd. Continue on Grizzly Peak Blvd. for several miles to Wildcat Canyon Rd. Turn right on Wildcat Canyon and then an immediate left down Canon Dr. into Tilden Park. Make a left on Central Park Dr., go about 100 yards, and park in the lot near the Environmental Education Center.

From Oakland or Richmond:
From I-80, take the University Ave. exit in Berkeley. Take University east towards campus to Oxford St. where University ends. Turn left on Oxford and continue until Rose St. Turn right on Rose and continue one block to Spruce. Turn left on Spruce to the top of the hill. Go across the wide intersection and make a sharp left turn down Canon Dr. into Tilden Park. From Canon Dr., make a left on Central Park Dr., go about 100 yards, and park in the lot near the Environmental Education Center.