For thousands of years, the Ohlone Indians were the sole human occupants around San Francisco Bay until the first European settlers arrived in the mid-1700s. More than 250 years later, the tribe is very much alive, but only traces of its early civilization remain. The best place to get a hint of how the Ohlones lived is at the 978-acre Coyote Hills Regional Park, right on the southeast shores of San Francisco Bay, west of Fremont, just north of the Dumbarton Bridge. Start by popping into park headquarters where you can see displays of Ohlone artifacts, including their lovely handmade baskets (some of which are so tightly woven, they're waterproof) and a reconstructed tule reed boat. Lectures and demonstrations are sometimes included. The Ohlone Shellmound, about half a mile from the park entrance on the Chochenyo Trail, is the site of a 2,000-year-old village of the Tuibun band of Ohlones with reconstructions of a sweat lodge, pit house, and other structures. This site is open only by appointment and on special occasions, such as holiday weekends, but Coyote Hills remains a great park with plenty of other traces of Bay Area history and, of course, nearly endless sunshine.
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