Stop and smell the wildflowers: BARTable hikes
Wanting to clear your head beneath uncluttered skies? Sprawling expanses and majestic redwoods are within reach — and not just across the Golden Gate Bridge or along the beach. Rambling hikes abound within city limits, too.
Cut through the urban jungle on BART to hit the trails, and eschew the looming gas costs or pollution guilt for a book as you make your way to some of nature’s pristine paths.
Here are some scenic BARTable parks to get you out of city mode without you having to get entirely out of the city. Just be ready to stop and smell the, yep, wildflowers.
The Stream Trail at Redwood Regional Park. Photo courtesy of Redwood Hikes.
Redwood Regional Park
Fruitvale BART Station, take AC Transit #39 or #339 to Dunn Trail
One minute you’re in downtown Oakland, the next minute you’re beneath a canopy of redwoods. Whether you want a day stroll to spot some wild critters or a campout (where you try to avoid them at night), Redwood Regional Park is an East Bay trove.
Jewel Lake at Tilden Regional Park. Photo courtesy of Chickmarkley.
Tilden Regional Park
Berkeley BART Station, take AC Transit #67 to Canon Drive
Tilden Park is a classic go-to sandwiched between the Berkeley Hills and San Pablo Ridge. Spanning more than 2,000 acres, its bicycle- and dog-friendly trails through rolling green are met with a botanical garden, swimming lake, and the Redwood Valley Railway steam train within its borders.
The view from the Summit Loop Trail. Photo courtesy of County of San Mateo Parks Department.
San Bruno Mountain State and County Park
Daly City BART Station or Balboa Park BART Station
This 9-mile loop runs through San Bruno Mountain State & County Park at the southern tip of San Francisco and serves up views of Daly City, Pacifica, Colma and Montara Mountain (as well as San Francisco landmarks in the distance). Radio towers keep the sense of modernity close, but the moderate half-day trail guides you through plenty of grasslands and wildflowers. From Daly City BART walk John Daly Boulevard to Crocker Avenue and start the park hike with Old Guadalupe Trail to connect to the Summit Loop Trail. When you complete the loop and head back out on Old Guadalupe Trail to Crocker Avenue, head to Southill Boulevard toward Geneva Avenue and Balboa Park BART.
Briones Regional Park in Lafayette. Photo courtesy of Fotos by Flee.
Briones Regional Park
Lafayette BART Station
Upon arrival at Lafayette Station, hikers walk 1.3 miles along Happy Valley Road and Panorama Drive to get to this 6,000-acre “getaway.” A lesser-known big pocket of wilderness in the East Bay, Briones Regional Park in the Briones Hills houses Briones Peak, its apex of panoramic views showcasing Mount Diablo, Mount Tamalpais and the Sacramento River.