Tell us about your treks: the latest, the best, the worst, the funniest, the scariest, the sexiest.
Hikes from outside the Bay Area are welcome: No reason to confine all the fun to one geographic area.
If you’re a blogger, post a link to your tales. If you have a Picasa or Flickr account, post a link to a photo album. (Sorry, picture posting allowed here, but you can post links).
These are posted oldest to newest; scroll to the bottom to enter your latest trip.
My latest hike: Montebello Open Space Preserve with the FOMFOK folks.
Sunny, gorgeous views, good people. The whole package.
A nice one from the archives: Meadow Hiking at Wilder Ranch State Park.
A memorable overnighter: I went camping at Big Basin but forgot my tent poles.
The hottest hike I ever did: The notorious Henry Coe Short Cut in late August.
My first-ever rattlesnake encounter, at Joseph D. Grant County Park
Travels with 4WheelBob:
Tenacity, Thy Name is Bob (memoir of his White Mountain triumph).
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Favorite images from our White Mountain adventure
White Mountain Summit, at a Glance
Portola Redwoods State Park, the first of many memorable outings.
An overnighter in the Emigrant Wilderness (great shots of waking up with the sunrise next to a lake of glass).
Las Trampas Wilderness: A great East Bay park (though best in the spring).
Tafoni Monolith and the last remains of a mid-century plane crash … stuff worth seeing at El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve
Flickr pics from Yosemite National Park, summer 2005.
The Great Ocean Walk
Ok, an Aussie one, near where we live and well worth the time to do the walk if you are ever in Southern Australia (yes I know it is a long way from the Bay Area!)
The link is to one section of this coastal hike but there are several more posts that cover the complete walk. One advantage of the Great Ocean Walk is the ability to either camp on along the trail OR stay off track in some great accommodation. Hope you all enjoy it.
The Overland Track Tasmania – How an Aussie and a Yank hooked up to walk the Overland Track
This is a post on my blog by an American guy I “escorted” into the Tasmanian Wilderness. We both survived and had a ball, even though the weather was awful, the time tight and we did not see a mountain for 3 of the 5 days due to rain and cloud.
There are several links on the post footer to more trip reports and stories about the Overland Track
Mt. Roberts Trail
So many Peaks – so little time. This was our lament upon leaving Juneau, Alaska. My wife and I could have easily lingered here for a week or more doing little more than hiking trails and drinking in the landscape. But alas, this was only a one-day port of call on our packaged tour. Thirteen of us on a family vacation to tour the inside passage, and two national parks. Sue and I love to hike most of all, but we got very little opportunity to do so while on this combined cruise and land tour. This hike was only a sampling of the offerings available should we decide to return to Juneau sometime without an itinerary, which I would be thrilled to do.
The city and borough of Juneau, situated on Alaska’s panhandle, has a total area larger than the states of Rhode Island, or Delaware, and nearly as large of both of them combined, with a population of only 30,711 by the last census. Juneau is the capital city of Alaska despite the fact that there are no roads or rail system leading there. The only access being by sea or air, the area is dominated by steep peaks ranging up to 4000 feet above the harbor.
The Mt. Roberts Trail normally begins by climbing a flight of stairs on a city street. Some of the areas on the outskirts of the city center are so steep that there are stairs leading between streets. A section of the lower trail was damaged by a recent rockslide, so there was a slight detour around using the unpaved Basin Road. This road provides access to the historic Perseverance Trail, and the Mt Juneau Trail, which climbs 3500 feet in only 2 miles, and links with many other tempting backcountry trails.
The lower trail begins within rainforest terrain, primarily spruce with some aspen and cottonwoods. They measure rainfall here in feet, not inches. The understory is dominated by the very leafy and thorny devil’s club, and lots of small fern species, moss and lichen. The trail is in good shape, and graded with switchbacks so it’s not wicked steep. Actually this entire section could be skipped by taking the tram up to a restaurant, bar, and gift shop located at 1760 feet. The round trip is 25$, but there is also a hiker option to ride the tram down only for 5 bucks. The summit is 4.5 miles and 3819 feet in elevation gain.
Once above the tree line, the views are simply breathtaking. Our ship docked very early in the morning and all aboard was at 8:00 PM. It was pure luck that we got a mostly clear day. It was foggy in the morning but later on it cleared, with intermittent patches of misty fog drifting through. The clearing pockets revealing snowy peaks in all directions, panoramic vistas, and a stunning view down to Gastineau channel and the city of Juneau. I wish I could bottle the smell of the crystal clean air. We were at the very end of the wildflower season, but there were still plenty enough around to complement the experience nicely. There are black bears in this area, but we never observed any evidence of them. We did see a lot of Grey marmots, Spruce grouse, and forest birds. There were still a few patches of snow on the highest trail sections, but nothing requiring special gear. We chose the option to take the tram down to save time because Sue really wanted to attend a presentation and book signing by Libby Riddles, the first female to win the Iditarod dogsled race. But it was hard not to linger longer at the peak. This whole area is gorgeous and doesn’t get oppressively cold, but does get copious amounts of rain.
Mt Healy Trail
Denali National Park
John Muir was once asked a question something to the effect; If you had only one day to spend in Yosemite, what would you do? His first response, only half jokingly, was that he might consider how to do himself in. Only after being pressed for a serious answer did he then conclude that a hike up to the top of the falls of the Merced River would be his choice. I am reminded of this after having to choose what to do with only 2 days to spend in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Denali is managed very differently than most national parks. Despite its vast area, there is still only one unpaved road into the interior of the preserve, and very few marked hiking trails or facilities. This park system and preserve exists largely because of the efforts of naturalist, hunter, and conversationalist Charles Sheldon, who traveled here with packer and guide Harry Karstens between 1906 and 1908. It was Sheldon who first discovered that the Dall sheep that inhabit the high peaks of this region were in fact a unique species, although a close relative of the bighorn sheep. The park was first commissioned as Mt McKinley National Park in 1917 primarily as a wildlife preserve. The total area was more than tripled in 1980, and was renamed Denali. In 1972, due to the increasing visitation, the national park service created a bus system. This was done both to protect visitors, and to reduce threats to wildlife and the ecosystem. There are a limited number of permits which are granted by lottery to drive on the park road, mostly for camping reservations. If you are lucky enough to have a camping reservation you can hike in the interior at will, on your own recognizance, but there are no trails, and lots of wildlife. But for all others, you must utilize the park’s own eco-friendly tour bus system. Our “Taiga and Tundra Tour” was great, but because it was not a hike, it’s not the subject here. I’ll have some photos up soon though. We saw lots of wildlife including grizzly bears, moose, Dall sheep, and golden eagle.
The Mt Healy Trail begins in the taiga near the park visitor center and climbs up into the rocky ridges looming above. We had another nice day; very chilly in the morning, but mostly clear with marauding misty clouds of fog drifting through. The lower trail passes through very typical taiga, with lots of stunted black spruce, quaking aspen, dwarf willow, and some birch. The growing season is very short, and only trees having very shallow roots can survive here because of the permafrost. The lower trail is graded very well with a lot of switchbacks, but the higher you get, the steeper and rougher the trail becomes. Above the tree line is mostly just rock and short dense vegetation, the diversity of which I could not even begin to properly identify without the help of a real naturalist. See the pictures. The fall season is just beginning in Denali and the color is everywhere.
When we got to the overlook we could see the trail continues on, so we followed it up climbing higher among the crags and rocks. As we looked up above our position there was a white dot that appeared to be moving. With binoculars we could see it was a Dall sheep grazing amongst the crags. We continued up trying to be quiet and non-threatening, and got to within about 30 feet of the sheep. We could see at least one more Dall sheep up further where we could not go. The sheep appeared to be a sub-adult male, and was not too concerned with us, but would not let us get too close before moving off, but continued to graze. The wonder of seeing the dall sheep up close was a bonus I did not expect on this hike. On our interior tour, they were literally just white dots high on the mountains.
The views were spectacular, and the fall colors were dazzling. I can assure you that my pictures will not do justice to it. We headed down about 11:00 am in order to be on time to catch a train to Fairbanks. I was not using my GPS, but I would estimate the hike was about a 7 to 8 mile round trip with roughly 3000 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead. Other wildlife sighted included, arctic ground squirrel, spruce grouse, and arctic hare (still brown this time of year). We found no evidence of larger mammals, although on the same morning, two young grizzlies were spotted foraging along the river very near the lodge.
Sorry, forgot to add the link to the photos of the Mt Healy hike. Need to add an edit function to this.
Black Point, near Mono Lake in Lee Vining, CA
My co-worker kept telling me to check out the lava fissures at Black Point in Lee Vining, CA. I finally did.
Go to the Mono Lake Visitor’s Center to find out how to get there. You head to the Mono Lake County Park, pass the Mono Lake Cemetery, then follow the sign to Black Point. When you get to a split in the road, take it to the Right (it’s Unmarked). Keep driving until you get to a black dirt parking lot w/ a bulletin board that says Black Point.
There is No Trail, so just keep climbing up, but head West. Keep going up & Left. When you get to the top you’ll soon see Lava Fissures.
Take lots of pictures on top, then slowly walk down to the bottom where you can walk through the lava fissures that look like slot canyons.
My friends really liked it & wanted to explore more, but we had to eat lunch & do the long drive back to the Bay Area.
Recommended. Allow 3-hrs at least to hike, take pics, & explore the fissures.
We hiked the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in Bishop to get acclimated for our White Mountain hike. It’s located at 10,000 ft so if you get altitude sickness take some aspirin or prescribed medication.
We started hiking on the 1-mi Bristlecone Cabin Trail to see some old Mexican mine sites. Don’t go in the cabins or mines, just look & take some pics.
Then we continued onward on the Methuselah Trail 4.2 mi RT to see the oldest living tree in the world at 4,000 yrs old, the Methuselah Tree, but the rangers won’t tell you which one it is because someone might try to cut it down.
There’s a 1-mile Discovery Trail for people that don’t have time to do 4.2 miles and you’ll still see Ancient Brislecone Pines, but I didn’t do that trail.
Nice visitor center where you can buy books, t-shirts, watch a 18-min film, helpful rangers. Two pit-toilets outside on the right.
Worth checking out if you’re ever in Bishop, CA.
Four of us hiked up to White Mountain on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008. We left our campground at 6:10am or so, used the bathroom at the normally closed gated area (the normal trailhead.) It was my first 14er, at 10,246 ft, it’s the 3rd tallest peak in the lower 48 states.
Lucky for us they had a special Open Gate Day. We were so happy when we found out a few days before the trip. 2-miles each way really matters a lot when hiking. I think we saved at least 4-hrs of hiking or more.
We then were able to drive to the Barcroft Station. They have a pen of sheep – we guess they eat them. Then hiking began gradual, then dip down where we saw a dome-shaped thing, then another longer dip, then switchbacks. Then up, up, up. Winds were CRAZY when we went. Maybe 50-miles per hr. Cold & miserable hike, total miles we did 10.4 mi, took me 10-hrs to do.
One pit-toilet on the start & end of hike. On the trail no trees because you’re above tree-line. Just squat behind some rocks & have a partner or just have no shame since you’ll probably never see those people ever again.
Views were just ok, seen them at lower elevation too.
Wanted to correct my previous post:
White Mtn is 14,246 ft. It’s the 3rd tallest peak in Calif.
A few pics on Flickr:
Sad news, the Schulman Visitor Center where the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is has Burned to the Ground on Sept 4, 2008. We were just there on Labor Day Weekend.
Chalk Mountain, Big Basin
I’m hiking solo today with Sue (my wife) away all weekend at a retreat. Not my thing, so why not do one of my old favorites hikes. Chalk Mountain has always had some strange attraction for me. I enjoy having a good probability that I won’t see many other people all day. There are lots of south bay trails that are under utilized by the general public, even though they may offer unique beauty, great challenging hiking, and inviting solitude. Chalk Mountain is a destination that certainly fits those criteria.
Of the many routes that can get you there, my favorite has always been the hike up from Waddell Beach, either out-and-back on the Westridge Trail, or doing a big loop around using Henry Creek Trail and the Westridge. These “horse trails” are more challenging than most of the trails designed for hiking. You get a lot of roller coaster action as the trails climb up and down continuously, and sometimes steeply, with sometimes slippery, rocky, terrain. Like many of the hikes at Henry Coe, this type of a hike can kick your butt, and would not be a good choice for a casual hike. Whitehouse Ridge Trail offers a short and easy route to get to Chalk Mountain for anyone interested in checking it out painlessly. There’s also the fire roads for a bike route too.
I decided to use a different route today. There are a few trails in Big Basin which are older trails that still exist today, but are no longer maintained. They do not appear on the current hiking maps. One of these old trails connects the end of the Sunset Trail with the Henry Creek horse trail by climbing straight up the ridge using switchbacks. A few people still use this trail as is evidenced by the crude markings seen along the way. Using this type of trail is recommended for novices. I decided to use this trail as a connection to get to Chalk Mountain from park headquarters.
In the morning, while driving through Saratoga, I had to use a slight detour because there was a street festival in town this weekend. Ok, no problem. Then, when got to Big Basin and saw a sign posted indicating that a trail running group was using the park that day. The main section of the park is popular for this kind of activity. Oh well, I was early enough I thought I could get enough of a head start not to see any runners. Since they would use the Sunset Trail, I used the Skyline to the Sea Trail, transitioning over to the Sunset at Timms Creek Trail. From past experience I figured the fast runners would be past there by then, and I would beat the slow ones up to my cutoff. I guess it worked because I never saw any runners. Sometimes I amaze myself.
Overcast early on, the sun partially broke through for an appearance in the afternoon. Great ocean smells, and the sun showed itself just in time to get fairly good views from the summit. Chalks road is a little better graded than the horse trails, but still a roller coaster, if a kinder, gentler, one. Also nice views all along down into the surrounding conifer habitat. Mostly exposed, it wouldn’t be a good choice in hot weather. There are sections that pass through redwood groves and stands of Douglas fir. Lots of scrubby pine trees, Manzanita, and other short, resilient, vegetation. In spring this area is thick with bush poppies and chaparral pea.
On the way back, my previous luck turned. When I got to the junction of Sunset and Timms Creek there was a big mass of humanity there blocking the trail. About 15 or 20 people on a group hike, and wouldn’t let me by. I wound up getting caught up amongst them and had to listen to their talking all the way along to the next junction. What ever happened to trail etiquette? The Sunset and Skyline to the Sea are very popular trails and you have to expect this kind of thing during the peak season. An almost perfect day was kind of spoiled at the end. I guess the detour in Saratoga was an omen after all.
Went to Jack London SHP on Mon 10/13/08 because I had a Holiday and my friends had time to hike with me. We left San Leandro at 8:05am and arrived at the park by 9:30am. We started hiking by 9:55am.
Friend had a state parks pass, but regular entrance per car is $6 or $5 senior rate. Ask for trail map and you get a page of useful info.
I recommend you park at the Museum parking lot. There is separate flushed toilets nearby – just below the museum near the parking lot.
We then drove to the Beauty Ranch/Mountain trail parking lot just above the museum parking lot. Hiked to the Sherry barn, manure pit, stallion barn, distillery, Londons’ cottage – saw the kitchen, laundry room, winery ruins, pig palace, smoke house, silos.
The Lake is DRY so not recommended. There’s an old building called Bathhouse that’s by the lake – can’t see anything there.
We also hiked to the Park’s summit which had nice views. Trail isn’t that great to the top & steep in parts. You’ll know you’re at the summit by the antennas up there & the view – weather permitting.
Hiking back down was pretty quick. We had time to see the Museum, Wolf House, & the grave sites.
Returned to the car by 4:40pm. It was a good day.
I’ve been to Sam McDonald County Park in La Honda, CA a few times, my most recent was Tues. 11/11/08.
It’s a little more than 1hr from Hayward. We took the San Mateo bridge over & since it was a weekday we got to use the Carpool lane & saved the $4 bridge toll. Over the bridge, then took 280 South to Hwy 35. lots of windy parts in the road, finally get to La Honda, turn on Pescadero Rd. When you see the sign for 1/2 mi be prepared to turn Rt Immediately at the Giant sign for Sam McDonald.
Nobody at the Ranger Station so it’s Self Service for Parking. It’s $5 for the day. Senior Citizens are 65 yrs+ but FREE for them M-F! Not fair.
We did a long day hike about 10 miles. We went to the Modoc Camp, Chinook, & had lunch at the Horse Camp. Onwards to the Overlook where views are ok of the Santa Cruz Mtns. Nice bench to sit at.
Then we went to the Heritage Grove – there’s an Upper Loop & Lower Loop. Do both. Very nice & calming.
Things we saw:
Tons of banana slugs
bats in a sign post under glass (I saw 3 tiny bats) – how do they get in there? “Don’t disturb–If they can get in, they can get OUT!” – It’s by the Horse Camp
flock of quails running over the trail
Heritage Grove plaque
Nice park to visit.
Mt Tam SP is a Great place to hike. I’ve been there a dozen times and really enjoy going.
This Sat 11/22/08 we did the classic hike: Dipsea/Steep Ravine/Matt Davis. It’s one of the best hikes in the Bay Area. Moderately strenuous, 7-7.5 mi loop starting @ Stinson Beach. Hike up the Dipsea & Steep Ravine trails and midway there’s a split in the trail. Turn Rt on an unmarked trail, then another right where you’ll see an old bunker. It’s way cool! It’s an extra 1/2 mi roundtrip to see it.
We then continued along Webb Creek w/ a 1,000 ft climb – the famous Ladder you have to climb up on, then continue to Pantoll Ranger Station (1,500 ft elev.) Hike down Matt Davis thru a grove of firs & grasslands w/ views of the Pacific Ocean to Stinson Beach- lots of steps. Can be hard for people with bad knees.
We had great weather, clear, sunny, & cool.
Parking at Stinson Beach is FREE, parking at Pantoll Ranger Station is $6. Bathrooms (flush toilets) available at both locations.
I’ve been to Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell SP a few times. It’s very nice now & in the summer.
We went on Sun 11/23/08 and do about 8 miles. Nice to walk along the Creek. We went up to the limestone kilns, very cool to see. Then we saw Powder Magazine – just a hole w/ a sign. Soon enough we got to Barrel Mill area on the Fall Creek Trail where there’s lots of Ladybugs (said to be overwintering-friend saw it really covered 2 weeks ago).
Lunch was at Barrel Mill site. There’s some old equipment & a sign to read about how they did the Barrel Mill back in the old days.
We did some hard sections on the Big Ben Trail up to the Truck Trail. Also did a bit on the High School trail.
No parking fee, no bathrooms.
Directions from Fremont: Take 880 South to 17. Exit Mt. Hermon Rd. Rt on Graham Hill Rd. Straight through the light to Felton Empire Rd. Pass the Felton Cemetary, Right into the parking lot w/ Henry Cowell SP sign.
Afterwards check this out:
Bigfoot Discovery Museum – Since we were nearby at Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell SP & I remember reading about the Bigfoot Discovery Museum on Yelp we stopped by.
Directions from 17 South, exit Mt. Hermon Rd, Lt on Hwy 9, pass Henry Cowell SP. Cross street: San Lorenzo Ave.
FREE Admission, suggested donation $1-2.
It’s a tiny museum and smells kinda funky. Lots of old books, old movies, things to read on the walls, a film was playing when we went and the guy was busy talking to others in the museum/shop.
I liked the wood sculptures of Bigfoot & other stuff outside the museum.
If you’re in the area, might be worth a few minutes to look around or a good laugh! V. was rolling on the floor laughing.
Closed Mon & Tues
Sat & Sun 11-6
Trail in Pescadero Creek County Park that isn’t on any trail map.
Last weekend we intended to do the Brook’s loop including Jones Gulch in Pescadero Creek County Park. After crossing the log bridge on the Jones Gulch trail to the north side we followed a narrow dirt road/trail up the hill. (looking at the guide book afterwards, we should have taken an a right turn after the bridge, but no one in our group noticed a junction; I’ll have to return there to see if it’s obscured by storm damage). At the end of the road/trail was a car gate and just beyond it a sign marking the start of the “Old Toyon Trail” heading to the right. We followed the trail and it terminated on the Ridge trail in Sam Mcdonald County park (above the water tank for the YMCA camp). The trail stayed to the left (west) of Jones Gulch creek; was in good condition except for a few places that could have used a little trail maintenance. There were no signs anywhere along the way saying we were leaving the park boundry or marking private property. Anyone know anything about this trail?
FYI-Update: At the Memorial County Park entrance, there is a display with the Portola Redwoods/Pescadero Creek map published by Redwood Hike Press. This map does include the mystery “unofficial” trail(s) and is much more accurate than the regular park maps.
Did almost the same hike that I did last yr. From Fremont it’s almost 1 hr to get to the Grant Lake Parking lot. 880 South – 680 South- Lt Alum Rock Exit – Rt on Mt Hamilton Rd. Lots of slow driving because of winding road on Mt Hamilton Rd.
FREE parking at Grant Lake Parking lot. Can get full in the afternoon, we got there early so had no problem. It’s $6 if you parking in the main park entrance.
We did: Grant Lake/Halls Valley/Canada De Pala/Pala Seca/Las Huecos Trails that makes a 9.2 mi loop. It’s a strenuous hike.
Since it was very cold today we wore our jackets & gloves to do this hike all day. It was very cool to see Mt Hamilton covered in snow. Loved the scene at Antler Point ‘2595. No longer a pit toilet at Pala Seca Cabin.
We only saw a Red Tail Hawk being attacked by a smaller bird. We didn’t see any other wildlife – oh well.
Still only 1 pit toilet at the Grant Lake parking lot. Drinking water by it wasn’t working for me.
I’ve been wanting to climb the “SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO THE INDUSTRIAL CITY” sign forever and finally did. You enter at Sign Hill Park, a small park on Popular Ave @ Rocca Ave. It’s in a residential area & FREE street parking is available on Popular & Rocca Ave.
To get to the letters take the Letters Trail .2 mi. The letters are made of concrete and you can tell that others have been there because there’s glass bottle & cardboard for sliding. We didn’t slide, but we did take lots of pics and stood on the letters. The letters are 60 ft high & 10 ft wide so when you’re up close you can’t get any great pics of the words really.
Two benches at the top, we also saw the Electric Christmas tree – They light them up day after Thanksgiving-Jan 6.
We also took the Seubert Trail .36 to the Eucalytus Loop trail .27 – it was ok.
Iris Hill Trail goes to the top – saw a trail sign for it at the bottom & top.
Worth going at least once.
Sign Hill Park
650 Poplar Ave
South San Francisco, CA 94080
I went to Garrapata SP for the first time w/ a group of 23 on Sat 2/21/09. It was a short hike (7-miles which took us 5hrs) but tough. I’m glad I did it though.
It’s a 2 hr drive down to Carmel taking Hwy 101 – Hwy 156 W – then Hwy 1. It’s 7-mi south of Carmel Valley Rd, off Hwy 1 in Carmel. Once you see the Garrapata SP sign on the right you are close, then look out for mileage marker 66 (small white marker). Once you pass that park on the Right or Left of Hwy 1. If you’re early like before 10am, it’s best to park on the Lt side so it’s easier to get on Hwy 1 to go home.
We did Rocky Ridge – Doud Peak – Soberanes Canyon Trail – Trailhead. It’s not a loop hike, we had to backtrack on a trail. Rocky Ridge is Steep! My legs are sore right now, and going down Soberanes Canyon was Evil too.
Pacific Ocean views
hillside full of non-native cacti
Many ladybugs huddled together (seen 2/21/09) on Soberanes Canyon Trail near the creek
saw flowers already: Johnny JumpUps, Lupines, Poppies, Shooting Stars
Parking is FREE
No entrance fee
3 Pit toilets about 100 ft on the Rt from Trailhead
No dogs allowed – though I saw a couple of them w/ hikers
Didn’t see any whale sightings
Mtn Lion territory – didn’t see any
Saw a hornet – heard there’s tons of them on the ground, only saw 1 – be careful.
I liked Angi C’s link on the hike:
Recommended if in the area or a hardy hiker – at least once.
Saw a bobcat by top parking lot at Rancho San Antonio Park Sunday 3/15/09 around 7:30am. Also noticed they put the “Mt. Lion Sightings” signs back up at the trail head.
A group of 16 went to Butano SP on Sat 3/28/09. It was a nice warm day and we did 10 miles. It’s a little over an hour to get there from Hayward. You pass Duarte Tavern then turn Right at the sign for Butano SP: Cloverdale Rd.
Day parking is $6, but since we had someone in our car over 62yrs old we got to pay only $5! Nobody manned the kiosk so put the money in an envelope. Bring exact change! We parked at the Visitor Center – it was Closed all day, probably do to the state budget. Pit toilets about 100 yds from the visitor center in another parking lot up the road. Camping is available here.
We did a loop hike: started at Jackson Flats Trail to Canyon Trail – lunch on the trail, didn’t hike at Trail Camp – too hot & tired I think. Then down Indian Trail to Doe Ridge Trail – Goat Hill Trail – finally to Ano Nuevo Trail back to cars. Lots of ups & downs so it’s a good workout.
Saw lots of banana slugs, Redwood Trees, wildflowers: milkmaid, lady’s slippers (type of orchid), hound’s tongue, forget-me-nots, wild cucumbers, Mission Bells, etc.
It was a good hike.
We went hiking today Sun 3/29/09 looking for spring wildflowers and boy did we find them! They were Everywhere! It’s an hr drive from Fremont. This park is just up the road from Calero County Park in SJ. From Hwy 101 or Hwy 85: West onto Bailey Ave, Lt onto McKean Rd, Rt onto Casa Loma Rd. It’s also close to Uvas Co Park.
FREE parking & one unisex pit toilet. This pit toilet had toilet paper & even hand sanitizer.
We did the Llagas Creek Loop Trail which is flat & paved and good for people who are in a wheelchair. Lots of Fiddlenecks & Lupines there.
Then we did the Mayfair Ranch Trail – Tons of wildflowers everywhere. Poppies, Goldfield, Lupines, Johnny Jump Ups, etc. I took lots of pics. Then Catamount Trail (steep!) – Bald Peaks Trail – Longwall Canyon Trail – Serpentine Loop Trail back to car.
We had sunny & windy weather a bit warm. We did 10 miles according to the FREE OSP map, but it felt more like 12. Started at 9:45am, finished 3:30pm w/ a lunch break & lots of other breaks.
Good: A few hiking trails & lots of spring wildflowers.
Con: Lots of bikes & horses. No dogs allowed.
Since I had Cesar Chavez Day off Tues 3/31/09 we went hiking at Mt Diablo SP. I meet my friends at San Lorenzo and it took 1 hr to get to the park. We went on the South gate Road to the S. Gate Entrance Station. It’s $7 day use parking or $6 if you’re over 62. Friend had a state park pass so it was FREE for us. Nice.
We parked at the Rock City Live Oak parking lot, separate bathrooms a bit up the road from there. We did the Trail Through Time trail – Devil’s Slide Trail – Sycamore Creek Trail looking for the new waterfall (dry) – down to Private Property – back up Sycamore Creek Trail – Black Hawk Ridge-lunch-Knobcone Point Rd to Balancing Rock (cool) – back to Curry Point (1774′) – bathroom – car. Took us 5hrs, maybe 8-10 miles RT.
Seen: wildflowers: Blue Dicks, Buttercups, Johnny Jump Ups, Poppies, tons of butterflies, 2 lizards, turkey vultures, 1 wild turkey (seen from the car).
Best time to go: Spring (March-May), Fall, Winter. Avoid Summer!
First time to Rockville Hills Regional Park on Sat 4/11/09 to hike w/ Greenbelt Alliance. It was rated a moderate, 4-mi hike w/ almost 1,000 ft elev. gain.
It’s 45 min away from Berkeley to Rockville Hills Reg. Pk. We met at the Rockville Rd entrance. There’s parking for about 20 cars, and when full you can park on Rockville Rd. There’s a $3 per person fee/$1 per dog – they have an automated machine – Bring single bills – no Change given or use your Credit Card. Keep Receipt & ID With You when in the park.
Print out Trail map from their website. We did the hike w/ the leader Alexandra which was good. We hiked up first, there’s a set of pit toilets up near the Lower Lake. Lower Lake is small & nice. Then we did the Interpretitive Trail – no map for it so no idea what the number signs are for. We then went to the Upper Lake – very nice. Lots of wildflowers when we went 4/11/09. Had lunch, then around the Upper Lake to Rattlesnake Cave – I only went 1/2 way up, crazy friends went up to the cave – can’t go in, just look in. Watch out for broken glass up to the Cave! Then we went down the Upper Quary Trail (steep!) back to the cars.
After the guided hike we did our own. Even though we had the map it’s hard to know where u are. Map is numbered, but on the trail there’s no number, and few signs but w/ Names! We thought we were on the Arch Trail, but we were on the Green Valley Trail close to the Oakridge Drive Entrance! No arch on Arch trail unless it’s that tree branch. We went close to a Cliff – that was neat.
We saw: 2 snakes-1 rattlesnake & 1 garter, lots of wildflowers: poppies, owl clovers, lupines, popcorn, purple sanicle, & johnny john-ups. Lots of mountain bikers – Watch Out!
Website has map, info:
Just had a wonderful hike last weekend at Rancho San Antonio Open Preserve along the PG&E trail.
The wildflowers are blooming in gorgeous colorful profusion right now. I took 255 photos in all! There is just so much to see – followed by a nice rest watching the model aircraft being put through their paces.
This is a very popular park on the weekend so be prepared to wait for a parking space to become vacant.