Shady Hikes for Hot Summer Days (Bay Area)
East Bay Regional Parks with cool weather and shady trails offer an escape from the summer heat.
Here are some suggestions:
- Point Pinole Regional Shoreline: Cooled by breezes from San Pablo Bay in Richmond, Point Pinole has a colorful and explosive history (having once been home to a dynamite factory), beautiful views of the bay and Marin County and shady trails through eucalyptus groves.
- Tilden Regional Park: Next-door to Berkeley, Tilden is one of the district’s original parks, with many hiking and cycling options. Check out the Wildcat Gorge Trail for a shaded hike along Wildcat Creek.
- Briones Regional Park: Located between Orinda and Martinez, Briones has miles of hiking and riding trails. For a shaded walk, try the single-track Bear Creek Trail, which starts next to the Newt Hollow picnic area at the Bear Creek Road entrance.
- George Miller Jr. Trail: The trail is located on a no-vehicle section of Carquinez Scenic Drive between Port Costa and Martinez. It’s breezy, with great views of the strait and Benicia. It’s on the map for Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline.
- Diablo Foothills Regional Park: The park’s Orchard Staging Area is at the end of Castle Rock Road in Walnut Creek. The trail starts out in the sun, then connects to the Old Stage Road, which is mostly in the trees with views of the imposing Castle Rocks.
- Big Break Regional Shoreline: On Big Break Road off Main Street in Oakley, this park is right on the water. Among other features, it has an open-air, walk-on scale model of the entire Delta, and a pier from which you can observe waterbirds and other wildlife.
- Las Trampas Regional Wilderness: Check out the Ringtail Cat Trail, which starts at the trailhead at the end of Hemme Avenue in Alamo (parking is limited). The trail follows a streambed (which is dry this time of year) through the woods for a quarter-mile, then heads steeply uphill to the sunnier Madrone Trail.
- Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park: There are any number of shady trails through this beautiful area of second-growth redwood trees. One main entrance is on Redwood Road about two miles east of its intersection with Skyline Boulevard in Oakland.
- Crown Memorial State Beach: The park district operates this beach on behalf of the state and the city of Alameda. You can seek out bayside breezes by entering at the main lot on Otis and Shoreline drives. Swim at your own risk, as there are no lifeguards.
- Coyote Hills Regional Park: Another park with a rich natural and cultural history, it offers great views of the southern part of San Francisco Bay and lots of bird life in and around the marsh. The park is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont.
- Sunol: Alameda Creek runs through this park, which is a gateway to miles of trails through the East Bay’s most remote open space. The entrance is at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road, five miles south of Interstate 680 and the town of Sunol.
Visit each park page for the latest alerts & closures, maps and full park details.
Beat-The-Heat Hikes (Antioch, Livermore)
- At Black Diamond, enjoy a morning stroll up the shaded Chaparral loop on Saturday, August 12, 2023, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Get some exercise and learn how chaparral survives the hot and dry summer months.
- At Del Valle, enjoy moderate morning hike on Sunday, August 13, 2023, from 8:30-11:00 am and Saturday, August 26, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. along the East Shore Trail, with oak woodlands and beautiful views of Lake Del Valle.
For more information, visit www.ebparks.org/calendar and search “Beat the Heat Hikes.”
The Coal Mine Experience (Antioch)
Looking for a “Cool” activity? The Coal Mine Experience ($3 per person + $5 vehicle parking) at Black Diamond Mines takes visitors deep beneath the surface to a time when coal powered California. The interactive and immersive experience transports visitors back in time with the sights and sounds of an active 1870s-era coal mine, with stories of the toils, triumphs, and tragedies embedded under the hills.
The Coal Mine Experience is located inside the Hazel-Atlas Mine at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve where temperatures are in the mid-50’s year-round, so bring a jacket or wear layered clothing.
Registration is required. For more information, visit www.ebparks.org/calendar and search “Coal Mine Experience.” All participants must be age 7 or older, and parent participation is required. Hard hats are required and provided.