Wendy Wheeler and Thomas Page Hike All the East Bay Park Trails
Mile by mile, two friends cover every inch of the East Bay Regional Park District trails.
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Their Favorite Hikes
Different Hikes for Different Folks
Adventurer-hiker Wendy Wheeler doesn’t want anyone to be intimidated by setting off into the woods, marshland, or meadow to explore new territory. “A lot of people think they can’t hike,” she said. “But there’s a hike out there for everyone. Flat hikes. Group hikes. Urban hikes. People need to get outside and not be intimidated.”
Here’s a list of some of Wheeler and hiking partner Thomas Page’s favorite hikes in the East Bay Regional Park District:
Best Flat Hikes
Coyote Hills Regional Park (Fremont) — Park at the Quarry Staging and take the Muskrat Trail to the Main Marsh to the D.U.S.T. Trail (stop and enjoy the pelican rookery) and then follow Lizard Rock Trail to Bayview Trail, which runs along the San Francisco Bay back to your car. (six-mile loop). This park is great any season. Also great since it is near salt water.
Point Pinole Regional Shoreline (Pinole) — Bay View Trail to the fishing pier, then Owl Alley Trail to the Black Powder Press (go out to every dead-end trail to the water from the press, because the birds and marsh are beautiful), Cooks Point Trail to Pinole Point Trail and head back to the car. Beautiful park any season. The bay and city views are spectacular. Fantastic picnic area; dog friendly (about five to six miles).
Best Hilly Hikes
Devil’s Hole in Las Trampas Regional Wilderness (San Ramon) — BAHiker.com calls this 4.6-mile loop a moderate hike, but we have taken less-experienced hikers on this loop, and they have almost died on the numerous short, steep ascents. Avoid this hike on a hot day or on a day with a lot of wind. Best seasons: fall, winter, and spring.
Flag Hill and Cerro Estes loop in Sunol Regional Wilderness (Pleasanton) — This is a 9.6-mile hike with 2,260 feet of elevation gain. Sunol is in my top three favorite EBRP parks; spring is the best season.
Any hike in Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve (south of Pittsburg and Antioch) in the summer. Your feet feel like they are boiling. Actually any EBRP hike in Contra Costa County = hot in the summer. The Hazel-Atlas Mine is a great escape from the summer heat. Love this park in the spring, because the wildflowers are fantastic.
Waterbird Regional Preserve (Martinez) — No water or birds. They call it a wetland park, but the wetland area is fenced off. No dogs allowed. Absolutely the worst park in the EBRP system. The park has geocaches, a few picnic tables, and truckers sleeping in the parking lot.
Briones Regional Park (Martinez, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek) — Spengler Trail after a heavy rain. Reach the trail from the Reliez Valley Staging area. The soil is clay, which means you slip and slide the entire way. I also was chased by a very angry mother cow on this trail (one of my worst and scariest hiking moments).
Best Five-Mile-or-Less Hikes
Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve (Oakland) — This 1.7-mile easy hike on the Huckleberry Path is the best really short hike around. Also good for winter and summer hiking.
Hayward Regional Shoreline (Hayward) — Start at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, and then follow the S.F. Bay Trail out and back. The trail is actually in the water marshes and seasonal wetlands. Beautiful view of the bay, and bird-watching is fantastic.
Wendy Wheeler and Thomas Page's Favorite HikesAdventurer-hiker Wendy Wheeler doesn’t want anyone to be intimidated by setting off into the woods, marshland, or meadow to explore new territory. “A lot of people think they can’t hike,” she said. “But there’s a hike out there for everyone. Flat hikes. Group hikes. Urban hikes. People need to get outside and not be intimidated.”
Photos By Thomas Page and Wendy Wheeler