Residents of Oakland and Berkeley don't need cars to reach some great East Bay wilderness hiking trails that can feel very far removed from urban noise. One of the most accessible options is a little-known trail in Lafayette that leads to Briones Regional Park. From the Lafayette BART station — which is just two stops west of Rockridge BART along the Pittsburg/Bay Point line — hikers can do a flat 1.3-mile walk along Happy Valley Road to Panorama Drive (Happy Valley Elementary School is a good landmark if you're lost). A short, very steep uphill hike on Panorama Drive takes visitors straight into Briones Regional Park, immediately offering breathtaking views of the bay. For those who want to do a short afternoon hike, Mariposa Trail is a good option with consistently picturesque lookouts. And for full-day hiking trips, visitors can venture deeper into the park to Briones Crest Trail, Lafayette Ridge Trail, and the many additional routes that connect to those paths. From Briones Peak, the highest point in the park, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of the Sacramento River, Mt. Tamalpais, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, and Mount Diablo.
© 2019 East Bay Express