Best Hike

Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve

One of the great things about living on this side of the bay is its accessibility to easy, moderate, and strenuous hiking options in the parks above the flatlands. There's the well-used Nimitz Trail off Inspiration Point, the busy trail systems that start from Skyline and Redwood gates, the well-worn paths around Lake Anza, and the popular Strawberry Canyon fire road behind UC Berkeley's stadium. But what if you want a workout that will help you get ready for your trek to Nepal, up Mt. Kilimanjaro, or to Machu Picchu? Then head where the professionals and not-so-professionals hike: the fire trails off Claremont Avenue in Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve. They're easily accessible from Tanglewood Path at the end of Tanglewood Road. Choose one-way and circular routes, but we've gotta warn ya: If the connector trail on Strawberry Canyon seems difficult, then read no further. This ramble requires strong calf muscles and lots of stamina. Along the way you'll be treated to panoramic views of Alameda and the distant Peninsula; the downtowns of San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley; the Marin Headlands, Mt. Tamalpais and beyond; and the Golden Gate and Bay bridges. In springtime, baby rabbits dart in and out of bushes; during the summer months watch out for snakes and in fall, as the setting sun dips beyond the Golden Gate, look for the occasional stalking coyote. Some people bring backpacks, water bottles, extra layers (for when the fog rolls in), walking sticks, and ski poles, but the most important gear is a pair of shoes with treads that grip. It's a steep, demanding trek, minutes away from the urban sprawl.

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