The trails in Tilden Regional Park (Berkeley) are a favorite day trip jaunt for our family. Whether your family is just starting to get out in nature or you’re experienced hikers, there’s something for everyone! For beginners, head for the Little Farm and BYOCL (bring your own celery and/or lettuce) to feed the animals. Check out the Environmental Educational Center and take a simple nature walk around the area. With nearly forty (yes, 40!) miles of trails in Tilden, you can plan your own route! Our route this trip started at the Quarry Trailhead into Big Springs Trail, and then up to the Seaview Trail, which eventually leads back down to the Quarry Trailhead (approximately 3.5 miles) – we used this guide.
Why We Love It: Taking this route you gradually make it up the ridge to impressive views on each side. We loved that even though we were almost continually heading up, it was at a gradual grade. Our 4 year-old, an experienced hiker for his age, set our pace, only pausing to take in his nature observations. At the top we gobbled down some snacks and the round trip took us about three hours.
For the Young Ones (ages 0-10): The trail head has picnic tables, great for lunch before or after your hike! Along the way, there are various beetles and little bugs to observe on the ground (our little guy loved all the many rolly polys) and gliding birds above towering trees. Inexperienced and very young kiddos will be served best in a hiking backpack or baby carrier. Our 13 month-old loved being cuddled against Mama in our Ergo, while watching the wind sway the tree leaves.
For the Big Kids (10+): In addition to the above, big kids will love the challenge of getting to the top and the beautiful sweeping views they’ll find there. They can also learn about the different kinds of trees and plants along the way. While pine trees are easily identified, the Eucalyptus trees have a relaxing scent that teens and pre-teens haven’t usually been introduced to yet.
Keep In Mind:
• This is the Bay Area, so wear layers no matter how the weather looks if you’re coming from Sacramento. It can also get quite windy, so don’t be surprised if you’re colder up top than you were in the parking lot!
• This route, while plenty wide, is not for regular strollers. Experienced trail runners may want to look further into bringing a jogging stroller.
• The trip back down is a gradual but long decent – I would not recommend the route for those with knee problems.
• As always, wear a hat and sunscreen. Even when overcast, you can still get a sunburn.
• There is poison oak in the brush, so stick to the trails.
Around the Area:
Grab a local treat before hitting the road! Our favorite bread is made fresh at Acme Bread Company, located at 1601 San Pablo Avenue. Try the delicious cinnamon currant bread or the best almond croissant in North America, and grab some baguettes to have with dinner. You earned it!
Difficulty Level: Moderate. Our 4 year-old did a great job, but was exhausted – and he’s an experienced hiker.