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Take advantage of the Bay Area’s mild Mediterranean climate with a visit to one of the East Bay’s gorgeous parks. Whether you’re looking for an intense workout or just a relaxed stroll, Oakland, Berkeley, and its neighbors have plenty of parks to satisfy every kind of hiker.
Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is where nature and history visibly collide. 10 million years ago, a volcanic explosion led to the creation of Round Top, the area’s most prominent peak. Today, several trails such as the Quarry Trail and the Round Top Loop Trail will lead you all around this impressive geological formation. None of the trails are too strenuous, so young children can accompany you as you explore this former volcanic hotbed.Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve also includes a labyrinth that will provide lots of fun for kids and adults alike.
Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve is a geology enthusiast’s dream. The layers of shale and chert that cover the park were actually created miles under the ocean, and eventually reached their present location as a result of tectonic plate movement. Observe the evidence of these ancient events as you walk the park’s 1.7 mile loop trail. This path takes you to all the park’s most stunning sights, and you’ll also catch a glimpse of some of the unique plants that blossom year-round in this pocket of Oakland.
Since 1952, Roberts Regional Recreation Area has served as a go-to spot for Bay Area hikers and picnickers. The staging area is located directly adjacent to a grove of redwoods, so it’s an especially great spot for people who want to see these native California trees without a strenuous hike. But if you are looking to get some exercise, hike the Roberts Ridge trail, a half-mile stretch that will take you up and down small hills and through tunnels of lush vegetation.
Located in the Oakland and Berkeley hills behind the famous Claremont Hotel, Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve is a 208-acre space that houses several trails with spectacular views of Oakland, Berkeley, the San Francisco Bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re not afraid of a steep climb, hike the Stonewall Panoramic trail, which ascends for nearly a mile and leads to the best vista in the park. Or, if you’re looking for something a little less strenuous, take the Gwin Canyon trail for two miles to see lots of native flora and fauna.
If you’re looking for a short, relaxing hike that won’t leave you gasping for breath, head to Temescal Regional Recreation Area. This park features a beautiful man-made lake, and visitors can walk around it by following the aptly named Shore trail. Large stretches of this path are paved and wheelchair accessible, making it an ideal spot for young children and anyone with limited mobility. The lake is also a favorite swim and picnic spot for locals during the hot summer months.