Loving the East Bay Wilderness

It’s paradise out there.


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I grew up in a four-season state, where winter and summer were the most punishing times of year and the elements sometimes meant rethinking outdoor pursuits, especially in the sticky, sweltering summer months. Here in the East Bay, the mild Mediterranean climate, and the unfortunate prevailing drought, rarely necessitate limiting similar outdoor activities.

Outside is where I like to be, and I have spent countless hours seeing the East Bay from many vantage points, running the single tracks and fire roads from Tilden Regional Park to Lake Chabot, biking the steep hills in Redwood Regional Park and the flats of the Alameda shoreline. I have enjoyed the Sunol Regional Wilderness, Lake Temescal, Lake Merritt, and many other parklands and wilderness areas the East Bay has to offer with my dogs. I’ve followed an awe-inspiring exposed ridge snaking along Mount Diablo and rock climbed there, too. I have tromped through East Bay Municipal Utility District property and kayaked on the estuary. I end most days with the soft nickering and rhythmic munching of horses stabled in the East Bay hills.

It’s paradise out there.

That’s what two East Bay friends and co-workers, Wendy Wheeler and Thomas Page, thought, too. They were so taken by the marvels comprising the East Bay Regional Park District that they vowed to explore each one of them, trail by trail, mile by mile. They are very close to completing their goal, and you can read about them and their journey in “Hardcore Hikers” on p. 32. The two pals, who were kind enough to invite me along on a hike early on in their undertaking, couldn’t name a single favorite hike, resulting in a real treat for readers, their mondo list of favorite hikes for all sorts of occasions, abilities, and interests. And that’s not all: They generously shared their photos, too.

We have our list of favorite hikes as well, which comes from polling the outdoorsiest journalists we know and persuading them to describe where they explore and commune with nature. It’s an interesting roundup, complete with off-the-beaten-path destinations right in our own back yard plus obvious places you probably haven’t been to that are worth the visit. And so you won’t get lost when you’re in the wilds, we’ve included a handy sampling of user-friendly apps.

Now that you have this helpful hiking resource guide, the rest is up to you. I’ll see you out there.

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