Several guided fall hikes offered in the parks of East Bay
Fall, with its cooler weather, is a great time for hiking in state parks and other public lands, and the East Bay Regional Park District offers many enjoyable walks led by naturalists. Some options are detailed below.
âMorningtide Walksâ is a series of intertidal marsh explorations on the second Saturday of each month with naturalist Virginia Delgado. There is a walk from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday on the Bay Point regional shoreline. The hike is free, but registration is required. To register and get information, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.
Another series of hikes is the “Saturday Strolls”. Join a naturalist for a moderate 3Â¼-mile hike from 10 am to noon Saturday to Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland. There is no bubbling lava, but Sibley does show geological evidence of a volcano that was active in the Oakland Hills 10 million years ago. The hike is free and registration is not required. The entrance to the park is on Skyline Boulevard, a short distance south of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard. For more information, call 510-544-3187.
It’s more of a telescope-assisted hike through the skies, but astronomy enthusiasts will enjoy a walkway hosted by Park District Naturalist Alex Collins and the Tri-Valley Stargazers from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday in the Arroyo Road staging area of ââDel Valle Regional Park. The group will have telescopes to observe constellations, star clusters, nebulae and more. Bring blankets and flashlights and dress in layers. Arroyo Road transit area is at the end of Arroyo Road, accessible via South L Street in downtown Livermore. The program is free and registration is not required.
As mentioned in the last column, early fall is the annual mating season for tarantulas. There is a tarantula trek program on October 10 in Del Valle, but unfortunately it is already full. For suggestions on where to try and find tarantulas in Del Valle on your own, send an email to [email protected]
Another hiking opportunity is the Over-the-Hills Gang, an informal group of hikers aged 55 and over who enjoy the study of nature, history, fitness, and fun. Naturalist âTrail Gailâ Broesder will lead the group on a 10 to 12:30 pm hike on October 12 from Marina Bay Park in Richmond. Bring water, a snack, and sunscreen. The group will follow CDC guidelines, so please bring a mask as well. The hike is free and registration is not required. For information and directions, call 510-544-2233. This is only a sample of the activities planned for the coming days in the regional parks. For a full list, visit the Park District website at ebparks.org.
Be careful: While we are on the topic of hiking, there are a few safety tips for anyone visiting regional parks and other public lands, whether on foot, by bike or on horseback.
- It is best to go with a friend or a group. The parks are safe, but if you are with a friend there is help if you get injured.
- If you are going alone, tell a manager where you are going and when you will be back. Better yet, outline your specific route and stick to it. Remember to check in when you return.
- Take a park map. You can download a map from the Park District website above. Free maps are also usually available in the information boards at the start of the park trails.
- Check the weather and dress in layers. Especially in the fall and winter, conditions can change suddenly. If it’s cold and humid, you can’t put on extra clothes that you didn’t bring.
- The park district still recommends wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. We’re not out of the woods yet, from a COVID standpoint.
- Bring water and a snack. Once you pass the trailheads and picnic areas, there are no more drinking fountains. And don’t forget water for your dog. A gallon Ziploc bag makes a great drinking bowl for Fido.
- Take your cell phone. In case of emergency, dial 9-1-1. There is also a direct emergency number for the Park District Police and Fire Dispatcher: 510-881-1121.
These few precautions will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit to the park. Good road!
Ned MacKay written about the sites and activities of the East Bay Regional Park District. Email him at [email protected]