Prettiest Vistas of the East Bay
Take in the grandeur of the Bay Area from these 12 stellar destinations.
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Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline Park.
Richmond’s Hidden Treasure
If Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline Park is a hidden gem, the view from West Ridge Point is its diamond in the rough. Just finding this park feels like a treasure hunt.
Take 580 to Canal Boulevard and follow the signs to Miller/Knox through an industrial area and past the Richmond Plunge (with its wonderful, tall “MUNICIPAL NATATORIUM” sign on top). Emerge from the Ferry Point tunnel to sparkling vistas of the bay and shoreline (intrepid open-water swimmers love Keller Cove, just to the right).
It’s lovely to walk around the lagoon, but the best views are from West Ridge Point, about a half-mile and short climb up from sea level. Park in the first lot, cross Dornan Drive, and take the uphill path by the railroad museum. Turn right on Old Country Road Trail; at the four-way intersection, take the path to the right up to the point. Marvel at the spectacular 360-degree vista encompassing the East Bay hills, Mount Tamalpais, Angel Island, and San Francisco. Then turn around for a bird’s-eye view of Richmond’s Brickyard Cove to the east. How come you never knew about this place?
Inspiration Point on Wildcat Canyon Road in Tilden Regional Park is indeed inspirational: sloping tree- and shrub-studded hills nestled up against the shores of glinting San Pablo Reservoir with peaks jutting up on the horizon.
More awesome sights await those who venture into the park’s interior about 2 miles away via Nimitz Way, the well-maintained paved pathway that ribbons through the park’s northwestern edge.
On the next full moon, head for the Peace Grove Lookout, a waist-high doughnut-shaped wall on the Wildcat Canyon Trail at the Wildcat Peak summit. Arrive about an hour before sunset and follow the pavement as softening dusk light enhances glimpses of emerald-green hills, expansive San Francisco Bay, and its iconic landmarks.
At the Berkeley Rotary Club Peace Grove sign, turn left on the progressively more rugged trail to the summit. There, the western vista includes the Bay Bridge, Oakland’s cranes, Treasure Island, San Francisco, Emeryville, Berkeley, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge, plus the Richmond and Carquinez bridges. To the east, there are the wilds of Contra Costa County and Mount Diablo. As the moon rises in Maxfield Parrish-hued pinks and pastels, the sun drops in fiery oranges and golds, then the lights twinkle as night, often fog-accompanied, arrives.
Out on the Bay at Point Pinole
There are many spectacular places to marvel at San Francisco Bay from above, but the views at sea level can be just as wonderful. The pier in Point Pinole Regional Shoreline—a 2,315-acre regional park near Richmond, Pinole, and San Pablo—is a great spot to be on the bay without a boat.
The concrete pier extends 1,250 feet, providing views of San Pablo Bay, Marin County, and Mount Tamalpais, as well as passing sailboats, big ships, and fast-moving Vallejo ferries. Along the pier, multi-ethnic anglers may show off the day’s catch. Old wooden pilings provide roosts for gulls, pelicans, and cormorants; more than 100 bird species have been spotted in the park and its tidal marshes. Dynamite was made here years ago. Now monarch butterflies winter in eucalyptus groves planted to limit blasts from accidental explosions.
From Atlas Road or Richmond Parkway, take Giant Highway to the park. Walk the Point Pinole or Bay View trails (1.6 to 2.0 miles) to the pier; or take the low-cost shuttle, which makes daily eight round trips.