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Soar over San Francisco Bay at Tilden Regional Park

The Wildcat Gorge Trail in Tilden Regional Park takes the hiker past a trickling creek full of shade and lush foilage.
The Wildcat Gorge Trail in Tilden Regional Park takes the hiker past a trickling creek full of shade and lush foilage. Jack Chang

It’s easy to go on an inspiring hike through Tilden Regional Park in the East Bay hills.

Whether you start from Lake Anza and work your way up to the hilltops or take the high road on the Seaview Trail, the park delivers a rich menu of pleasures: bay views (weather permitting), creeks, oaks, eucalyptus, grasslands, soaring turkey vultures, dogs thrilled to be outdoors, superb Northern California landscapes all in all.

The Lone Oak area is a good sampler. Start up the Meadows Canyon Trail from the parking lot off Central Park Drive, and the vistas and shade-dappled paths get going right away. The trail gently climbs an exposed hillside toward Wildcat Canyon Road, until it’s just sky straight ahead and the landscapes of Berkeley and, beyond that, Mount Tamalpais over your shoulder.

Before reaching the roadway, cut right (south) onto Curran Trail and head back down to the forest until you hear the creek that runs alongside Wildcat Gorge Trail. Follow that back to the trailhead for a lush finish to the 2.83-mile walk.

How to get there: From Sacramento, take Interstate 80 west, and in Albany, exit Buchanan Street, which turns into Marin Avenue. Near the top of the hill, turn left on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, right on Sunset Lane, left on Wildcat Canyon Road, and after a mile or so, right on Canon Drive. Make a right on Central Park Drive and a left on the first road that curves to the left. The Lone Oak parking lot awaits.

Difficulty: Moderate

Cost: Free.

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