It’s supposed to be in the 90s or worse in the South Bay this weekend. Finding some Redwoods is an obvious choice: a few summers back I hiked at Big Basin with a Chinese gent and we found it north of 100 when we got back to San Jose. It was steamy in the tall trees, for sure, but nothing like that.
Here’s a pic from that adventure:
One of my favorite oft-told tales is of camping at Mount Madonna County Park on a Fourth of July weekend when it was blistering in town and knee-chattering cold at the park, whose campgrounds lie almost exactly at the border of the Pacific Ocean marine layer. Hiking should be pretty cool there if you stay on in the redwood forest near the top of the hill. Otherwise, though, it’s apt to be steaming.
Another great South Bay option: Uvas Canyon County Park. The waterfalls run at least a little bit all summer and the tree cover is thick pretty much everywhere.
Hikes near the coast are always an option. Wilder Ranch is high on my list of places to revisit soon. You really can’t go wrong at Angel Island, either.
Of course anytime’s a good one to check out Tomales Point at Point Reyes — it’s a little early for the Elk rut but weather won’t be much of an issue (trails might be a tad crowded, though).
How about the rest of y’all? Is it worth fighting the mosquitoes and traffic to drive up to the Sierra to get some trail miles in?
Related: Five great hikes for Bay Area travelers.
Briones Reservoir – always a cool breeze and you can probably get away with a short refreshing dip. . .otherwise, you’ve got all the bases covered, Tom. Actually, I kinda enjoy hiking in the heat. I have a high tolerance for the extremes. My wife, though, is the opposite…..
I got my start hiking in the East Bay hills in the summertime — first real hike was at Ed Levin Count Park at the height of summer.
Forgot to mention: if you start early enough you can finish before it gets too hot. Also, summer’s a great time for full-moon hiking (assuming it’s allowed where you want to go).
Where, or when? Sunrise hikes and evening hikes are always great (as you added). Do you know which parks are open for moonlit hikes? I read your old Mission peak post but isn’t it officially closed at dusk?
I agree with the early morning option. Try and be on the trail by 7 and stop by 11. We’ve also picked up the habit of always carrying an umbrella. Once the temperature crosses 88 or so, I will break out my umbrella. It makes a huge difference, but even with it, try to be hiking with the sun at your back. Otherwise the heat reflecting back from the ground in front of you will get you.
If the coastal fog sticks around you can always hit the San Mateo coast. I hiked Russian Ridge last weekend and had to whip out the cap and gloves!
Basically, anywhere with thick tree cover is bound to be cooler. And places with oceanside breezes provided there isn’t an offshore flow ocurring. Hiking the upper Toulumne is really great. The frigid water is nice to drink, and you can strip down and jump in, lowerig your core temp in minutes.
I also vote for any hike within a mile of the coast. Frequently the intense heat inland pulls the marine cloud layer from the Pacific Ocean onto the coast. If that happens, you’ll want long sleeves while hikers inland are sweating in shorts and tank tops.
I just got back from Pt. Reyes with my Ranger boys and we had a great time. There was enough of a breeze to keep it cool at the beach, but it was pretty warm inland at Coast Camp. Lots of people out there also enjoying the cooler temperatures. Definitely near the coast on the hot inland days!