SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY, CA (Oct. 3, 2021) — Autumn with its cooler weather is a great time for hiking in the regional parks and other public lands, and the park district has lots of enjoyable naturalist-led walks on the schedule. Here are some options:
“Saturday Strolls” are a hiking series in East Bay Parks. Join a naturalist for a moderate, 3¼ -mile hike from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland. There’s no bubbling lava, but Sibley does show geologic evidence of a volcano that was active in the Oakland hills 10 million years ago.
The hike is free of charge and registration is not necessary. The park entrance is on Skyline Boulevard a short distance south of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard. For information, call 510-544-3187.
“Morningtide Walks” is a series of tidal marsh explorations the second Saturday of each month with naturalist Virginia Delgado. There’s a walk from 10 to 11 a.m. on Oct. 9 at Bay Point Regional Shoreline. The hike is free, but registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.
It’s more of a telescope-assisted hike through the heavens, but astronomy buffs will enjoy a skywalk hosted by park district naturalist Alex Collins and the Tri-Valley Stargazers from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9 at the Arroyo Road staging area of Del Valle Regional Park. The group will have telescopes set up for viewing of constellations, star clusters, nebulae and more. Bring blankets, flashlights, and dress in layers.
The Arroyo Road staging area is at the end of Arroyo Road, which is reached via South L Street in downtown Livermore. The program is free of charge and registration is not required.
As mentioned in the previous column, autumn is the annual tarantula mating season. There’s a tarantula trek program on Sunday, Oct. 10 at Del Valle, but unfortunately it is already full. For suggestions on where to try to find tarantulas at Del Valle on your own, email DVvisit@ebparks.org.
Another hiking opportunity is the Over-the-hills Gang, an informal group of hikers 55 years and older who enjoy nature study, history, fitness and fun.
Naturalist Trail Gail Broesder will lead the group on a hike from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12 starting at Marina Bay Park in Richmond. Bring water, a snack, and sunscreen. The group will follow CDC guidelines, so please also bring a mask.
The hike is free of charge and registration is not necessary. For information and directions, call 510-544-2233.
This is just a sampling of the activities scheduled in coming days at the regional parks. For a full list, visit the park district website.
While we’re on the topic of hiking, a few safety tips are in order for anyone visiting the regional parks and other public lands, whether hiking, bicycling or horseback riding.
- It’s best to go with a friend or a group. The parks are safe, but if you’re with a friend, there’s help if you become injured.
- If you do go alone, tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to return. Better yet, describe your specific trail route and stick to it. And remember to check back in when you return.
- Take along a map of the park. You can download a map at the park district website, ebparks.org. Free maps are also usually available at the information panels at park trailheads.
- Check the weather and dress in layers. Especially in the fall and winter, conditions can change suddenly. If it turns cold and wet, you can’t put on extra clothing that you didn’t bring along.
- The park district still recommends carrying a mask and maintaining social distancing. We’re not out of the woods yet, COVID-wise.
- Bring water and a snack. Once you are past the trailheads and picnic areas, there aren’t any drinking fountains. And don’t forget some water for your dog. A one-gallon Ziploc bag makes a good drinking bowl for Fido.
- In an emergency, call 9-1-1. There’s also a direct emergency number to the park district’s police and fire dispatcher: 510-881-1121.
These few precautions will assure a safe and enjoyable visit to the parklands. Happy trails!
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.