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Beautiful East Bay Hikes You Need to Try

Beautiful East Bay Hikes You Need to Try

By California.com
February 04, 2021

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe. 

The East Bay—the most populous subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area—is known for its coffee culture, strong tech presence, fascinating art galleries, and beautiful open spaces. Since the area is much warmer than San Francisco, people can easily take advantage of the outdoor opportunities. There are plenty of East Bay hikes that lead you to numerous natural wonders such as rushing waterfalls, towering mountain peaks, and rolling hills with expansive panoramic views.

Whether you’re taking a break from the bustling city or simply exploring the East Bay’s landscape, you’ll come to find out that each trail has its own unique characteristics. Some are ample with colorful wildflowers, others are home to unexpected treasures and secret labyrinths. Set out into the great outdoors and go on the best East Bay hikes you wouldn’t want to miss—don’t forget to gear up and bring snacks.  

The Best East Bay Hikes

Make your way through the gorgeous expanse of Tilden Regional Park while trekking from Nimitz Way to Rotary Peace Grove.

1. Nimitz Way to Rotary Peace Grove

Location: Tilden Regional Park

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Round-trip distance: 4 miles 

Time: 1.5 hours

Route: Out and back

Dogs allowed: Yes

One of the best hiking trails in the East Bay is Nimitz Way to Rotary Peace Grove. This sunny, paved, and well-marked East Bay trail has gorgeous views around every turn—it takes you through sequoias, pines, and a eucalyptus grove. Nimitz Way, also known as the Nimitz Trail, is popular among dog walkers, jogging enthusiasts, and nature lovers seeking peace and solitude. 


2. Wildcat Creek Trail

Location: Wildcat Canyon Regional Park

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Round-trip distance: 8.6 miles 

Time: 3 hours

Route: Out and back

Dogs allowed: No

Lose yourself in the heart of nature at the 2,429-acre Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. The Wildcat Creek Trail is a shady East Bay hike that meanders through lush forests and wildflower-dotted meadows. While this hike isn’t difficult, the hills can get pretty challenging if you’re not well prepared. The view from the top rewards you with stunning vistas of the Bay Area and the San Pablo Reservoir. Have a true East Bay hiking experience and trek the Wildcat Creek Trail to immerse yourself in Mother Nature. 

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East Bay Waterfalls Hikes

Hoping to see a waterfall in the East Bay? Head to Mount Diablo State Park after it rains to catch the scenic cascade.

3. Waterfalls of Mount Diablo Loop

Location: Mount Diablo State Park

Level of difficulty: Difficult

Round-trip distance: 7.9 miles 

Time: 2–3 hours

Route: Loop

Dogs allowed: No

After it rains in the East Bay, it’s time to hike the Waterfalls of Mount Diablo Loop in Mount Diablo State Park. This East Bay waterfall hike is pretty easy to follow—but it features several climbs and can get quite muddy after winter and spring rains, so come prepared. Thanks to the seasonal rainfall, multiple scenic waterfalls are created in the mountain’s jagged canyons. When you reach the top of the hills, the calm breeze rejuvenates your soul as the striking views take your breath away. 


4. Murietta Falls Trail 

Location: Del Valle Regional Park

Level of difficulty: Difficult

Round-trip distance: 11.8 miles 

Time: 4 hours

Route: Out and back

Dogs allowed: On leash

The Murietta Falls Trail is located in Del Valle Regional Park, one of the best parks in the East Bay. The main feature of this trail is Murietta Falls, the highest waterfall in the region. The path’s steep climbs make this East Bay waterfall hike a good workout. Though it’s regarded as one of the most challenging Bay Area hikes, the Murietta Falls Trail is worth trekking—it transforms into a colorful explosion of green, yellow, and red in the spring.   


The Top Dog-Friendly Hikes In The East Bay

Spend an afternoon in the great outdoors with Fido by taking him on a hike in Lake Chabot Regional Park.

5. Lake Chabot Loop

Location: Lake Chabot Regional Park

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 9 miles 

Time: 3 hours

Route: Loop

Dogs allowed: On leash

Trek the Lake Chabot Loop to go on another awesome dog-friendly hike in the East Bay. This gorgeous hiking area becomes even more magical after a rainy day. The wooded and scenic East Bay hike provides the perfect dose of Mother Nature. You also get to hike on different types of terrain, including pavement, dirt, and gravel. Tip: Make sure to go mid-week to avoid the crowds. 


6. Flag Hill Trail

Location: Sunol Wilderness Regional Preserve

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Round-trip distance: 3.9 miles 

Time: 1 hour

Route: Loop

Dogs allowed: Yes

The Flag Hill Trail offers the best dog-friendly hike in the East Bay, meandering through rolling hills, California poppies, and other vibrant wildflowers. While the loop is relatively short and rated as moderate, it’s not as easy as you might think. The uphill climb can get pretty tough, but the views waiting at the summit are totally worth it. Once you’ve conquered the steep hill, you’ve done the difficult part—the rest of the path is all downhill.  

Enjoy the serene views of verdant, undulating hills while hiking the Briones Crest Trail and Valley Loop Trail.

7. Briones Crest Trail and Valley Loop Trail

Location: Briones Regional Park

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Round-trip distance: 6.8 miles 

Time: 2 hours

Route: Loop

Dogs allowed: Yes

The Briones Crest Trail and Valley Loop Trail make for one of the best hikes in Contra Costa County. This dog-friendly East Bay hike features lots of cows, sunshine, and rolling hills. Hiking this trail is quite easy—not only is the path spacious, but it’s also pretty flat. If you’re looking for the ideal East Bay hike with toddlers, this is it. 


Easy East Bay Hikes

Marvel at the massive trees found within Joaquin Miller Park, one of the best places for an Oakland hike.

8. Sequoia Bayview Trail

Location: Joaquin Miller Park

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Round-trip distance: 2.8 miles 

Time: 1 hour

Route: Loop

Dogs allowed: Yes

The Sequoia Bayview Trail is an easy Oakland hike you can do any time of year. The somewhat rocky hike takes you through a few patches of redwoods and gorgeous blooming wildflowers. With no significant elevation gain and a short distance to hike, the Sequoia Bayview Trail is ideal for those wanting to do an East Bay hike with toddlers.  


9. Laurel, Kennedy Creek, Upper Seafoam, and Lower Seafoam Loop

Location: Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Round-trip distance: 1.9 miles 

Time: 30–45 minutes

Route: Loop

Dogs allowed: Yes

If you want a short and easy East Bay hike, this trail is for you. The initial incline of the loop trail gets your heart pumping, but it only gets better from there. The rest of the path is a downhill route that takes you through a shady, forested area. 


The Best East Bay Hikes With A View

Conquer the challenging East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail and be rewarded with sweeping views of the region.

10. East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail

Location: Wildcat Canyon Regional Park

Level of difficulty: Difficult

Round-trip distance: 32.9 miles 

Time: 10–12 hours

Route: Point to point

Dogs allowed: On leash 

The East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail is one of the 1,200 designated National Recreation Trails in the United States and is among the best East Bay hikes with a view. Providing striking panoramas of the East Bay, the route makes for one of the most unique and rewarding treks in the region. Whether you choose to complete the trail in a day or traverse a section of it, know you’ll be experiencing one of the top nature hikes in the Golden State.


11. Iron Horse Regional Trail

Location: Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Round-trip distance: 27.7 miles 

Time: 9–10 hours

Route: Point to point

Dogs allowed: On leash 

The Iron Horse Regional Trail is the East Bay path to explore this weekend. The popular, flat, and paved trail connects Alameda County with Contra Costa County and is regarded as one of the best places for biking in the East Bay. The fall is the best time to hike this trail—the incredible foliage stretches across the path and features gorgeous scenery. 

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