Guided Intros To The Parks

Montclarions are split between the walkers and non-walkers.  If you are a non-walker but curious about seeing the trails, then here’s your chance to join a guided introduction.

Stress-free walks are scheduled this weekend and next.  You are even encouraged to bring your kids along, if they are in grade school or older.  Hopefully, the temps will be comfortable while wandering in the trees or on the ridge tops.

First Intro:  Volcanoes, Quarries and Labyrinths – Takes place at Sibley Volcanic Preserve (map) this Sunday, August 3rd, from 1:30 – 4:00pm – Free.

Explore the remnants of an extinct volcano, exposed in places by years of quarrying and decorated by artists building labyrinths.  Keep your eyes skyward for golden eagles. Moderate hike.  For 8+ yrs.  This is a drop in program; no registration is required.  For info, call: (510) 521-6887.

Second Intro:  Up-Down & All-Around Walk – Takes place at Redwood Regional Park (map) next Saturday, August 9th, from 2:30 – 4:30pm – Free.

We’ll hike from the top of the Ridge to the creek and back as we enjoy the redwoods and their varied past. Plan for up and down hill on this somewhat shady walk.  For 6+ yrs.  This is a drop in program; no registration is required.  For info, call: (510) 521-6887.

Third Intro:  Redwoods To the Cosmos – Takes place at Redwood Regional Park and Chabot Observatory (map) next Sunday, August 10th, from 9:00 – 11:00am (Cosmos) or from 1:30 – 2:30pm (Tykes) – Fees.

Earth and sky unite in an outing that is out of this world. High in the hills of Oakland, hike the redwood laced trails to hidden, historic sites. Experience the ecosystem by walking through the beautiful, shady paths of Redwood Regional Park. Then explore the cosmos at Chabot with hands-on interactive exhibits and displays and be amazed how your child’s universe can expand in one excursion!  ‘Redwoods to the Cosmos Hike’  is 8+ yrs, while ‘Little Tyke Family Hike’ is 5+ yrs.  Fees: $5 plus General Admission to Chabot.  For info and registration call: (510) 336-7373.

Mountain Biking Detoured In Redwood

This summer, you will have to plan ahead for your Redwood Regional Park biking trips – especially if you are a novice rider or are bringing your kids to the trails.

The most popular route for bicyclists, East Ridge, will be closed at Skyline Gate, from 8am – 5pm weekdays.  The good news is you can go mountain biking on weekends or after 5pm weekdays.

From now through September, the East Bay Regional Park District is cutting down old trees for fire prevention purposes.  While no one can argue with the importance of this “hazardous tree and fuel mitigation project,” the summer trail restrictions are a bummer.

What’s closed? The East Ridge Trail will be blocked between Skyline Gate and Prince Road, along with closures on Phillips Loop and Eucalyptus as well.

If you want to cycle from Skyline, then you would drop down to Stream Trail and ride up Prince Road to gain access to East Ridge traveling south.  This route’s challenging for novice riders, including steep and narrow terrain (see detailed map).

As Bay Area denizens, there are a few opportunities to protest the closures and detours.  The Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay (BTCEB) and East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC) encourage all interested riders to show up and make their views known:

  • July 22 at 2 pm – Attend the Executive Committee meeting of the East Bay Regional Park District, where there’s scheduled time for public comments (map).
  • July 29 at 7 pm – Attend a special meeting arranged for bicyclists and Park District staff, which will be held at the Trudeau Center (map).

My two cents?  It’s restrictive but not worth the protest.  While open access would be ideal, it’s just more important for the Park to deal with fire prevention measures.  I’m not fully informed on these matters, and welcome comments and debate here.

2009 Update: Starting September 8th, the East Ridge Trail will be closed from 8am – 5pm weekdays.  The closed portion runs between Skyline Gate and Prince Trail, where East Bay Parks says they are removing hazardous tree debris and diseased Monterey Pines.  This work is expected to wrap up by December, and you can read more here.

Peru in the Redwoods

Join a llama-supported hike this weekend, up in Redwood Regional Park. Here’s what the llama line-up looks like, as snapped by a hiker this March:

Llama packers will guide the 4-6 mile hikes, held from 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. According to the packers, “you will have the opportunity to lead a llama while learning about handling, caring for, and packing with llamas.”

Please call ahead for more info and to register at 888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757). Beyond this weekend, there will be one more opportunity in June as well.

This looks like fun. Though I have been told that llamas are spitters – and the trek isn’t quite as benign as you think!

March 2010 Update:  The llamas are returning for treks again soon!  The scheduled days are March 27th and 28th, and April 24th and 25th.  The hours have changed, from 11:00am – 2:30pm.  It now costs $70/resident or $78/non-resident.  Call ahead and sign up.