In a week, spring will be here. Weather-wise, we have it easy in Berkeley, but we couldn’t be happier to see signs that warmer weather is on its way. Bay Area hikers share our sentiments and are dusting off their boots to take advantage of the sun’s staying power, beautiful blossoms, and wildlife that abound on our trails. Just ask Ann Marie Brown, well-known outdoors expert, and author of newly released Moon 101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area.
According to Brown, who hikes, bikes, and camps more than 150 days each year, hikers who take advantage of Bay Area trails this spring will see rare wildflowers and centuries-old virgin redwoods, surf crashing against miles of coastal bluffs, waterfalls, summits, big-leaf maples, and more.
To help hikers, Brown has compiled a list in her book representing some of the best hikes for activities like wildlife-watching, backpacking, and exploring waterfalls in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some hikes that top her list include:
Best for Bird-Watching
- Kent, Griffin, and Zumie Loop Trails – Audubon Canyon Ranch and Bolinas Lagoon Preserve, Marin
- Alcatraz Island’s Agave Trail – Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Peninsula and South Bay
Best Peak Vistas
- Bald Mountain Loop – Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Napa and Sonoma
- Wildcat Peak and Laurel Canyon Loop – Tilden Regional Park, East Bay
Best Redwood Forests
- Purisima Grand Loop – Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, Peninsula and South Bay
- Peters Creek Grove – Portola Redwoods State Park, Peninsula and South Bay
Best Short Backpacking Trips
- Sky Trail and Woodward Valley Loop – Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin
- Flat Frog, Middle Ridge, and Fish Trail Loop – Henry W. Coe State Park, Peninsula and South Bay
- Cascade Canyon – Marin County Open Space District, Marin
- Back and Donner Canyon Loop – Mount Diablo State Park, East Bay
Best Wildflower Displays
- Pomo Canyon Trail – Sonoma Coast State Park, Napa and Sonoma
- Goodspeed Trail to Gunsight Rock – Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Hood Mountain Regional Park, Napa and Sonoma
- Marsh and South Pasture Loop (river otters) – Rush Ranch, Solano Land Trust, Napa and Sonoma
- Tomales Point Trail (tule elk) – Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin
“Quite possibly, you’ll wind up spending some of the best days of your life on Bay Area trails,” Brown said. At Moon, we couldn’t agree more.
Happy spring hiking!