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A Press Democrat Blog

Trailhead

A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

The great climb and views in Lucas Valley

The single best moment of last weekend’s hike came as I hit the Big Ridge at the top of the trail. I had finished a series of long, pensive switchbacks when I emerged into a clearing and could see the entire world. Well, at least the San Francisco skyline, several bridges, Mounts Diablo, St. Helena and Tam, and, much closer, the lush expansiveness of Lucas Valley. I don’t have enough jaw-dropping moments in my life, but this was one of… Read More »

Help build and improve the Ridge Trail

This Saturday is the fifth year that friends of the Bay Area Ridge Trail are doing a service day to help clear trails and do other outdoor work that is needed on the 340-plus miles of trails that loop around the entire Bay Area. There are park segments in Sonoma County along with the rest of the Bay Area, and while most of the volunteer-crews for the different areas have filled up (I’m heading to Jack London State Park –… Read More »

Zig-zagging on Mount Tam

[imagebrowser id=73] It’s hard to miss Mount Tam on any hike in the North Bay. Even if you’re not on it, it’s one of the better landmarks to spot in the distance. “Oh look, isn’t that Mount Tam?” is pretty much a line I’ve heard on any scenic hilly hike around here. But it’s a treat to hike on the mountain itself of course. Tam, or Tamalpais, which is Miwok for ‘coastal mountain’ has literally hundreds of possible hikes, some… Read More »

Carquinez, Crockett and a bridge

[imagebrowser id=71] ‘Walking the bridge’ around here generally means traversing the Golden Gate. It’s where the crowds are, but it also provides dramatic views, gale-force winds and a sense of history. There’s always something to see, whether in people-watching or out on the bay or toward the SF skyline. While the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridges are the only ones that span the bay, several other ones cross various waterways. Last weekend, as part of a roundabout East Bay… Read More »

Dogbone Meadow to the Big Tree

There are actually several big trees, redwoods in fact, along the Big Trees trail. It’s part of the impressive, and incredibly underrated, ridge lines that go behind and through Novato’s western neighborhoods. But there is a big tree too, right at the top as you head up into Indian Tree Preserve. Our hike covered yet another day-hike segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, my personal Holy Grail of area hiking, I suppose. This was to be an 11-mile loop… Read More »

Some tough climbing in Lucas Valley

Having hiked more than 150 miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, I wouldn’t have predicted that one of the toughest parts would be just outside San Rafael in the hills of Marin County. But it is what it is. Last weekend, I hiked about 13.5 miles on several Marin ridge trails, including about five miles of trail that are part of the Ridge Trail. The trail section was in the Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve, but the hike included… Read More »

Falling back into the hiking routine

A fellow hiker atop Gunsight Rock

It’s been a busy few months for me (go figure!), so my regular rhapsodic schedule of long all-day hiking outings has been interrupted. But I’ve managed to do a bunch of short hikes recently, squeezing in a quickie here and there when time permits. Or even when it doesn’t. I hope you’ve been doing the same. The fall is an amazing time to get out and see the seasonal transformation of nature, and a cool morning quickly heats up with… Read More »

Coastal redwoods in Oakland

Just east of Oakland, the hills rise up over the East Bay and along those hills are a string of regional parks, many of which link up into something called the East Bay Skyline Trail. I have to admit that I had never heard of this trail, but that’s insignificant. I have heard of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, that 330-mile-plus large looping network of trails around the Bay Area that I’ve now hiked more than 100 miles of, and… Read More »

On the Ridge Trail inside Annadel

I’ve hiked and biked in Annadel several times but most trips have revolved around the same few trails, all leading to or around Lake Ilsanjo. And why not? It’s a beautiful body of water, whether for fishing or swimming and it provides a nice resting post. Last weekend’s hike was a bit more ambitious. The northernmost link of the 300-plus-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail includes about eight miles within Annadel State Park and our hike was to include a portion… Read More »