On Memorial Day (2013), Tony Wong and I kicked off the summer season preparation with a 31-mile day hike thru-hike of the East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail. This trail is a Bay Area gem that runs North-South along almost the entire east bay Berkeley/Oakland hills straddling Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
On the North end, where we started at 7am, the trail begins at Wildcat Canyon Park in Richmond. Parking is at the Alvarado staging area, but we parked on the street because the gate wasn't open yet. The trail ascends San Pablo Ridge with views of the City on one side and San Pablo Reservoir on the other. The trail hits asphalt for a few miles on the Nimitz Way as it enters Tilden Park but then reverts back to trail after Inspiration Point.
From Tilden it enters EBMUD land for a bit (the local water district) and then crosses Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. The weather was perfect for hiking - cool and cloudy, but in Sibley it rained on us for a little while before reverting back to pleasant overcast.
From Sidley, the trail traverses Redwood Regional Park, and after a big descent crosses Redwood Road and then ascends into Chabot Regional Park for the last 10 miles of the hike. It finishes at the Proctor Gate at the South end of Chabot in the San Leandro/Castro Valley area.
The terrain varies quite a bit throughout, ranging from oak savannah to lush forest, to Redwood groves, to chaparral, to eucalyptus, and back again. Parts are heavily trafficked while other sections are almost completely empty. Quite a bit of up and down, but also significant stretches that are sloped gently on a ridge or through a valley.
We finished the hike at 7:30 pm. Tony's wife Pat picked us up and drove us back to Richmond to pick up my car.
All in all a great hike that I thought Bay Area BPLers or those that might visit would want to know about. East Bay Trails by Wilderness Press has the details and breaks the hike into four sections for those looking to do less than the whole hike in one day. The trail has it's own signage throughout, but maps are recommended because the blazes are missing at certain points.
Only Tony had a camera, but believe it or not he only took a few pictures at the outset, though maybe if we ask nicely he'll post a couple of them.