One of the most popular and oldest regional parks in the district, Tilden Regional Park is brilliant for hiking trails and attractions, all easily accessed from the Berkeley Hills. Those looking for everything from a day of swimming and recreation to solitude on a trail will find it all at this regional park.
With dozens of trails to choose from, it is no wonder that enthusiastic hikers flock to the park to get their fix of nature. The park houses 2,079 acres of wildlife, making it the perfect place to spend a few hours or an entire afternoon. The trails weave their way through oak trees, tall grasses, and blooming wildflowers, providing a respite from the busy bustle of the cities hiding just beyond the tree line. Though the trails tend to be rather hilly, there is a wide variety of difficulty and length, satisfying both beginner and expert explorers.
With vistas of the Berkeley Hills, Oakland, and even San Francisco, the park also provides some of the best views in the area. The trails are user-friendly, with maps and bulletin boards at most trail heads. Trails are well marked with distances and topography, ensuring that guests have the perfect hike. Dogs are allowed on or off leash at most locations within the East Bay Regional Parks system, but specifics can be found here. For most, the hikes in this area provide a feeling of solitude that is uncommon for a place so close to the city.
Many children who grew up in the East Bay owe a huge number of childhood memories to Lake Anza. One of the most popular attractions in Tilden Park, Lake Anza is a fantastic place for children, especially in large groups. If you don’t want to swim, a short leisurely walk around the lake can be just as nice. While the swim area is limited, there is large beach and even larger lawn for picnics and activities. While the area is exposed enough to let in plenty of sunshine, the beach and lake are protected from the wind by a large grove of trees.
Unlike many other Regional Park attractions Lake Anza is not free, but prices are minimal, ranging from free for children under a year to $3.50 for adults over 16. Lifeguards are on duty during swim season, ensuring a relaxing afternoon for parents in search of inexpensive entertainment. Lake Anza is the perfect activity for small families to large parties, offering a range of ways to enjoy a sunny afternoon.
A piece of the park since 1955, the Little Farm provides some of the most unique and wholesome experiences in the area. One of the best places for kids in Tilden Park is the Little Farm, a working farm with both a working garden and livestock. The main attraction is the many goats, cows, sheep, pigs, rabbits, ducks and chickens that can be viewed inside their pens. Those in the know bring lettuce and celery to feed the eager animals, an activity that proves surprisingly fun for adults and children alike. The red barn at the farm is open every day of the year until 3:30, though visitors are welcome to see the rest of the farm into the afternoon and evening. The Little Farm survives entirely on donations, but provides free access to all. Be sure to stop by the visitor’s center to learn about the local wildlife and walk through a cave built right into the exhibit.
For the youngest children, the steam train is the perfect option for a day in Tilden Park. It is a scaled down version of a full size stream train and winds its way through a forest along a scenic ridge. Sometimes called the Redwood Valley Railway, the train provides exciting entertainment for all. The train is located at the edge of Tilden Park on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, by a lookout point across the bay. Each single ride is three dollars for each individual over the age of two, making the steam trains an inexpensive treat for everyone.