By Alison Brown, WEN Marketing & Communications Chair
As we’re gearing up for summer, more of us will be heading outside to enjoy the beautiful hiking trails of the Bay Area. Below are some of my favorite spots to enjoy the outdoors, including some hiking meet-ups happening in the Bay Area this June.
One of my all-time favorite hikes is Cataract Falls in Mount Tamalpais Watershed, Marin County. It’s not a very well known hike, but it is one of the most beautiful spots in the Bay Area.
This 3-mile loop is a great workout due to its elevation gain and ample amount of stairs, so try to go on a cooler day if you can. This hike is at its most beautiful right after a big rain when the falls and river are at their fullest. The trail is filled with cascading waterfalls throughout, which reminded me of hiking in Oregon and Washington, especially with the abundance of green moss lining the trees and rocks.
The trailhead is located off of Bolinas Fairfax Road, just past Alpine Lake. At the junction of Helen Markt Trail and Cataract Trail there is a beautiful pool where you can take a break (maybe even go for a swim) and enjoy the great views.
Another beautiful hiking area is Redwood Regional Park in the East Bay. It’s easily accessible hiking trails make it a popular spot for locals year round. During their annual migration every winter, you can also spot hundreds of ladybugs lining the trees in some parts. I’ve also spotted goats grazing along the trails, as a green alternative to clearing away dry brush. If you’re into mountain biking, a lot of the trails are bicycle friendly.
If you’re interested in doing a full hike here, I’d recommend the French Trail and Stream Trail loop, which is 7.5 miles. These trails can be trafficked pretty heavily, especially in summer, but there are tons of trail offshoots where you can explore redwood groves in tranquil surroundings.
If you’ve got family visiting from out of town, the Marin Headlands is a great area to head for views of the Pacific and the Golden Gate. You can explore Hawk Hill, Kirby Cove and Point Bonita Lighthouse if you have time. The entire hike is 7.3 miles, but you don’t have to do the entire trek to enjoy beautiful views.
There can be a lot of tourists here, so if you can access the hikes via bicycle or visit on a weekday, you will likely have less people. Kirby Cove is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been before. If you’re extra lucky, you might be able to snag a campsite and sleep under the stars with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate.
Looking for more activities?
The East Bay Regional Park District is hosting a full moon hike on June 27th from 7:30-9:30pm. It’s the first full moon of the summer, and there will be a naturalist. Click here to learn more or check out the Facebook page here.
Looking to volunteer? There will be a Summer Beach Clean up happening on Saturday, June 30th at Crown Memorial Beach State Park in Alameda. No registration required, but please bring buckets and gloves. Click here for more information.
If you’re interested in family-friendly activities in the East Bay, click here to read more about events happening this summer.