A partnership of the Regional Parks Foundation and Kaiser Permanente HMO, Trails Challenge encourages visitors to explore the regional parks by completing any five of 20 trails listed in the 2020 guidebook.
There are trails for all levels of fitness and expertise, from easy to challenging. Hike, bike or ride whichever you choose, turn in your trail log by Dec. 1, and receive a commemorative pin while supplies last.
The 2020 Trails Challenge guidebook is available as of Jan. 2 at park district visitor centers or online at the district website, www.ebparks.org/TC. And you can download the free AllTrails app.
Besides trail maps, the guidebook has useful information about equipment, safety, and the regional parks in general.
Participating visitor centers also have free Trails Challenge T-shirts, again while supplies last.
So make a New Year’s resolution to pick up a guidebook and venture out into the parks.
New Year, Nature You
Speaking of trails, naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder will be leading a series of hikes at various regional parks from 9 a.m. to noon on three Sundays in January on the theme of “New Year, Nature You.”
All are part of the Healthy Parks Healthy People program promoting safe, low-impact activities in the outdoors through regular enjoyment of the regional parks.
Gail’s first hike will be on Jan. 5, starting at the Alhambra Creek Staging Area of Briones Regional Park.
The entrance is on Reliez Valley Road about a mile south of the intersection with Alhambra Valley Road in Martinez. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Black Diamond Mines ‘Discoveries’
“Nature Discoveries” is from 10 to 11 a.m. every Saturday. Learn what is flying, crawling or blooming in the park. “Historic Somersville is from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Learn about the lives of 19th Century miners, see some miners’ tools, or go on a short walk.
Or you can meet a live gopher snake, king snake or rattlesnake from 1:30 to 2 p.m. every Saturday.
Black Diamond Mines is at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. The snake program is at the Sidney Flat Visitor Center just past the park entrance kiosk. The other two programs meet in the parking lot at the end of the road.
Black Diamond Mines has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. The programs are free of charge. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
Big Break in Oakley
The naturalists at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley host occasional coffee talk sessions to discuss current news relating to the Delta. There’s one from 8:30 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, another at the same time on Feb. 5.
Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, est. 3050.
Fireside stories at Tilden
And there’s a nature stroll starting at the center from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Jan. 4, 11 and 18, led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. These are easy walks to observe the variety of life in the nature area. Bring a camera.
The center is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive, accessible via Canon Drive from Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. Call 510-544-2233.
Crab Cove in Alameda
Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda features Family Nature Fun from 2 to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, with a different topic each week. Mammals (including us) are the subject on Jan. 4 and 5.
Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. Call 510-544-3187.
Coyote Hills in Fremont
There are regular tours of a reconstructed Ohlone village site within the park, a half-mile walk from the visitor center. The next is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4.
Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a $5 parking fee; the programs are free. Call 510-544-3220.
This isn’t even half of what’s going on in the regional parks. For full information, visit the district website at www.ebparks.org.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.