Bay Area Hiking Trails
Skyline to the Sea Trail: This 29.5-mile long trail begins at Castle Rock State Park and ends at Waddell Beach, winding through the Santa Cruz Mountains and Big Basin/Redwood State Park. The scenery varies from open fields to ancient towering redwoods, with beautiful creeks and waterfalls all along the way. It can be done either as a massive day hike or a more relaxed, overnight backpacking trip. The trail parallels Route 9 in many spots and can be accessed from many different points if 30 miles is not exactly your cup of tea.
Tilden Park, Berkeley: This short, steep trail in the East Bay foothills, just outside of Berkeley, offers unbelievable panoramas of the city, the ocean, and the entire Bay Area on a clear day. Best to hike in the afternoon once the fog has burned off a bit.
Mount Tamalpais (Mount Tam) - Hike to the summit of this stunning mountain in Marin County, near Tiburon, or drive to the summit lot and hike the last quarter mile. Stunning views exist the whole way, and there are many trails in the nearby area to scratch every hiker's itch. On a clear day, San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Pacific Ocean are all visible.
Rose Peak, Sunol County Regional Park - Just east of Fremont lies one of the best state parks in the Bay Area. It is considerably less crowded than most, full of grassy fields and open views, and the flagship hike, a gradual, 20-mile roundtrip jaunt up Rose Peak, boasts magnificent 360-degree views atop the second highest peak in the Bay Area on a clear day. Don't be surprised if you see trail runners training for ultra-marathons while you are up here.
Mount Diablo State Park, in Contra Costa County, is home to the highest peak in the Bay Area. While it is a bit of a drive from the nearest interstate, the park itself is lovely and feels more remote than most. You can opt to drive to the summit and hike the loop, or drop down into any of the canyons on the way.
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