Pretty Pittie at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve - Photo Credit: @ac_sivs
Oakland is surrounded by hills, and the hills—luscious green at this time of year—are laced with hiking trails. You don’t have to go far from downtown Oakland to access one of the close-in preserves managed by the East Bay Regional Park District, which oversees more than 65 open-space areas with 1,250 miles of trails between them. A perk you won’t find on many other public lands: while dogs must be leashed in parking lots, at picnic sites or within other posted areas, you can legally cut them off the tether in open undeveloped areas, providing they’re under strict voice control at all times.
Start your wanderings, perhaps, at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, where a self-guided brochure will help you appreciate the park’s rugged geology. Or, consult your GPS to find Parkridge Drive, a quiet residential street in the hills that opens onto the only access to the MacDonald Trail in Anthony Chabot Regional Park. While dusty in summer, this path and others are settled in spring, and the rain-washed, multi-county vistas are incredible. Go for a short stroll or long one, but be sure to stop for a picnic at one of several designated areas. One fork in the trail takes you to lovely Bort Meadow, where there’s a campground you might want to scope out for a future visit.
Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, nestled in the hills behind the historic (and dog-friendly) Claremont Club & Spa, is another sure bet for DogTrekkers. People and pups can paw their way up the steep but rewarding Stonewall Panoramic Trail, which leads to a ridgetop with dramatic views. The 208-acre preserve supports a mosaic of vegetation types, from grasslands to woodlands, all of which you’ll experience on the way.
On a hot day, you might want to head up over Redwood Regional Park, a hidden forest bisected by a trout stream populated by a species of fish identified as endemic to the watershed.
Photo Credit: @ac_sivs