Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rush Ranch - Marsh & South Pasture Trails

"Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends,
have become global garbage cans."
-Jacques Cousteau

Locale: Rush Ranch, Solano Land Trust, Suisun City, Solano County, California
Date: Saturday, October 4, 2008
Price: Free
Duration: 4.6 miles total or 2.2 for Marsh Tr and 2.4 for So. Pasture (2.5 hours for both)
Activity Level: Easy
All in All: a unique educational hiking experience that incorporates marshlands and ranchland.
Rating: ****
Maps & More Info:

In an era that only seems to care about getting our economy back on track and battling countries for oil, our environment tends to take a backseat to other priorities. That's why it can be refreshing to go to Land Trusts where you feel relieved (for the time being anyway) that this area can be preserved. This hike was far more worthy then I had actually expected. We wanted to hike somewhere close by and something not intense. I came across this hike in "101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area" by Ann Marie Brown. Take I80E into Fairfield. Take Hwy 12E from there and follow Hwy 12 for about 5 miles. Then turn right on Grizzly Island Rd for about 3 miles until you get to Rush Ranch on the right. As soon as you approach the ranch, you will most likely see a few cars by the various fishing spots. You will also see a sign which announces the Suisun Marsh as the largest contiguous estuary in the country meaning the largest area where fresh water mixes with tidal water.

Rush Ranch is no ordinary ranch. It hosts many events including carriage rides, blacksmith demos and nature hikes every month. Many schools come here on field trips. We were pretty surprised by the amount of artists who were enjoying a peaceful spot beneath the trees on the ranch sketching and painting the landscapes. After parking, go to the visitor's center and get two brochures called the Rush Ranch South Pasture Trail Guide and the Rush Rance Marsh Trail Guide. Head out the back door and start on Marsh Trail. What my boyfriend and I really appreciated about this hike were these two guides. On both trails are numbered posts. The numbers are indicated in the brochures and they tell about the wildlife, flora and fauna, the water and even history about the Native Americans who lived here centuries ago. Another thing that struck us about the Land Trust was it's cozy down-home feel. My boyfriend comes from the Iron Ranges of Northern Minnesota near Lake Itasca - the source of the Mississippi River. A river with such importance in our country and sometimes while walking along Marsh Trail we were reminded of the muddy shores of the riverbanks. I came from the farmlands of Wisconsin. My father's side has a long line of dairy farmers who worked the lands 365 days a year through bitter winters that caused chapped hands to bleed. Spending half of my childhood on a farm, I got a bit homesick when looking around the hilly pastures and grazing cattle.

Marsh Trail has excellent views (on a clear day of course) of the wetlands, boats, flora and fauna and bluffs. You will pass by many blackberry bushes and cattails. Below is a picture of handmade levees that are placed in the marsh to drain the water low enough so cattails do not grow and to provide more open space. Below is a brief video of the panoramic view of the area.
You can faintly see Mt. Vaca, the Potrero hills and Mt. Diablo.

Following Marsh Tr is quite simple as it's the only wide trail at this particular spot and following along with the guide is quite educational. It is a short trail however and before you know it you are through the gate and back where you started - at the ranch. But you are only halfway done.
Prior to starting the South Pasture Trail, check out the water tower and windmill. Next to it is a 'boneyard'. When equipment is being saved for later use or is no longer able to be used it's placed here. There's rusty wheels, plows and even an old tractor.

The South Pasture trail may seem a bit similar to another hiking spot in the Bay Area - Briones Park near Martinez. Like Briones, S. Pasture Trail is open lands under blue skies and a warm sun. It also has many many cowpies, cattle fences and of course, grazing cattle. After exploring the Indian grinding rock site, continue towards the cattle grazing near the water tank.
We have been on many a hike where cattle grazed. I grew up around cows and farm animals. But wait, what if the entire herd is starting to jog towards you? This was the first time in my life where I actually was in fear of cattle. As the picture above illustrates, the entire heard of cattle came towards us fast. They were not charging but damn close. The three horses in the back stood motionless during our presence but their eyes never left our sight. The picture was taken during the second time the herd came towards us. The first time startled us so much we backed off and headed diagonally off the trail getting poked by thorns. This was enough for the herd to retreat towards the water but we wanted to continue our hike. "Should we tempt them when we have such a short hike?" My calm but wary boyfriend asked. We did. After the second time they came towards us, they retreated and broke up into two groups. One went off, the other milled around and stared us down til we left.

At this point, we were a bit confused as to where the trail was. We had zigzagged so much and the literally shitty trail was no longer clear. Alas we found the post to set us back on the right track. On South Pasture Trail, all you will hear is the wind rustling and some cattle mooing and occasionally a military plane taking off from nearby Travis Air Force Base.
It caught me off guard because I had gotten into the country cozy feel of this half of our hike that I nearly forgot how close were to Fairfield and civilization. After post 13, there will be a narrow path to the left of the main path. We found a fallen post on the ground that denotes direction. Take the left narrow path even if it doesn't look right. Follow it to a large fence that may or may not be an electric fence. There will be a tiny gate to go through to continue on the trail. There will be a post and wooded planks. This area is a creekbed which only rises with water in the winters. As the path turns left, you will see a small pond and cow heaven. Cow heaven is a place where ranchers placed dead cattle. Upon exploration, we found a pelvis and other bones.

Another .25 mile or so and the hike is finished, back at the ranch. This hike is by far unique. It does not have the beautiful redwoods of Muir Woods nor the endless Pacific Ocean of many Marin hikes but there is a definite spark igniting the intrigue of this hike. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in the green hilly pastures of western Wisconsin and the heaps of information at every post throughout the hikes that differentiates Rush Ranch from any other hike. All I know is I wouldn't mind coming back to it, after all there must be something about it because with all the beauty that Northern California offers with the Redwoods, the ocean and the mountains, why did we so many artists enjoying the breezy humid air around the ranch and being inspired to draw? As the great landscape and nature painter Claude Monet said, "I only draw what I see."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Point Pinole - Bay View Trail Loop

"It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home
Now, I'm just gonna sit at the dock of the bay..."
- Otis Redding (Lyrics to Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay)

Locale: Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, Richmond/Pinole, Contra Costa County, CA
Date: Sunday, September 28, 2008
Price: $3
Duration: approx. 5 miles (2.5 hours)
Activity Level: Easy
All in All: A diverse and easy hike that is available for bicyclists, hikers, strollers, fishermen and picnic-ers.
Rating: ***1/2
Maps & More Info:

Hiking trails this close to Chevron oil refineries? Right next to Richmond? And near the interstate? These three facts are a few reasons why the park is mainly utilized by locals to Contra Costa County. And all three facts are no reason to stray from it either. Getting there is quite simple, from I80 (coming from SF) take the Richmond Pkwy exit, turn left at the light and follow about two miles until the Giant Hwy turn. Turn right here and follow the signs to Point Pinole. It'll eventually be on the left with a big sign, kiosk and lot.

I actually live on the northern edges of the San Pablo Bay. Our apartment complex had a small picnic area that overlooks the bay in fact. I couldn't think of a better song then Otis Redding's posthumous released "Sittin on the Dock by the Bay" to encapsulate any sizable body of water and its view here. Since this was our first place since moving 2,000 miles away from home, again, the lyrics are symbolic.
Like many of the hikes we've trekked this past year, many are quite historical. This hike was once a dynamite base. In the 60's, it was actually contemplated for NASA's Mission Control center which was eventually based in Houston. This was all interesting to me - and all of it can be found in the brochure. The decision of NASA's to not build Mission Control at the shoreline may have been a relief to natives but perhaps not as well.

The hike is fairly easy. There are few if any elevation changes on the trails and poles are quite unnecessary. Start from the lot towards the bridge that goes over the railroad tracks. After the bridge get on Bay View trail on the left. Oil refineries will be on the left, Mt. Tam on the right. As you walk closer to the water you will see many signs warning to keep out of it. It's a resource preserve and dogs and humans are not allowed to go into the water no matter how hot the day may be. After about two miles on Bay View Trail comes my favorite park of this hike. Take the narrow trail on the left down to the fishing pier. The pier is 1/4 mile long and if you love to fish this may or may not be a great place. No license is needed but take note of the signs for which fish you are not allowed to take home with you. Also note that eating only a couple meals of the fish a month is advisable due to mercury and other chemicals the fish may take in.

As you walk down the pier, you will notice on the right the old fishing pier. There were at least a dozen or more people on the pier fishing as we strolled. My boyfriend asked a man if he caught anything, "Not a thing all day," he replied. As we reached the end of the pier, the contrary seemed the be occurring. Just in time, we saw a man pull out a sting ray - barb and all! This was something I'm not used to seeing everyday. A few minutes later, a man from the same party caught two fish on the same line. Fishing, something I haven't done since moving from Wisconsin to Minnesota over six or seven years ago. It was something I used to enjoy in local lakes and rivers despite my distaste for most fish and seafood. Time to finish the hike, we thought as we stopped briefly for a snack.
Leaving the pier, you'll pass the bus depot. Yes, there's a bus depot in the middle of the park for those who fish and would like a ride to and from the pier. It's a dollar to go the mile or two back. Turn left onto Owl Alley trail. You shouldn't be on the blacktop anymore. The rest of the hike has a more Sunday picnic feel to it. You'll pass many benches and grills and even a pond. After a .25 mile, turn onto Marsh Trail. After another .48 miles, turn right on Cook's Point trail.
Planes, trains and automobiles... and boats - we saw these quite frequently on our pleasant little hike. Not much wildlife seen on this hike but I didn't care. It was enough to suffice my intermittent addiction to the great outdoors. For some, Pt. Pinole may not be isolated enough and may not have the awe that Point Reyes has but whether you are coming or going, it'll always be there for people to enjoy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hiddenbrooke - Bay Area Ridge Trail

Locale: Hiddenbrooke Community, Vallejo, CA
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008
Price: Free
Duration: approx. 5 miles (2.5 hours)
Activity Level: Easy/Moderate
All in All: A lesser known trail which is a great way to burn off calories in Solano County.
Rating: ***
Maps & More Info:

Living in Solano County for two years now, I figured that hiking would involve a lot of driving. After checking out local hikes, I realized this was only a few miles away from where I lived and didn't know it. Conveniently, it's right off of I-80 E coming from San Fran/Oakland and Vallejo. Just passed Vallejo and shortly before Fairfield, look for HIddenbrooke/American Canyon Rd exit on the right. Take it and take the first right off the exit right before the Hiddenbrooke exit. There's a little parking lot alongside the highway. This will be the nearest parking.

Head onto the sidewalk along the road going through the entrance of Hiddenbrooke. Unfortunately, you'll have to walk uphill on blacktop for about .5 miles to get to the trailhead. On the right will be a sign of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Start here just left of the fence. You'll be climbing upwards initially on cracked soil.

The trail continues mainly uphill for 2.5 miles or so before reaching a dead end. You can alternately go on some of the trails off of the main trail but these also become dead ends. Not too much wildlife on this hike. Simply come cattle in the distance and feisty meerkats.

But yet the hike like all hikes, is rewarding. Though the sound of the highway traffic may seem inescapable and the affluent neighborhood of Hiddenbrooke is nearby, the hike offers sun, excellent breezes and different terrain for this time of the year. Most of the hike is easy but there are a couple of steep uphill sections which can be taxing. I opted for poles though it was a short hike and I was glad I brought them for the steep sections. For those of you who are lucky enough to live in the heart of the Bay Area and have hiked plenty of the well known park hikes, then this may be a nice change of pace. We only saw one other hiker with his small sons and other then them and some golfers down below, we were completely isolated, well, to some extent - civilization is still within the naked eye. And for those of you, like I, who live on the edges of the Eastern North Bay and dislike commuting, this lesser known hike is simply in your backyard waiting for you to take advantage of it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Marin Municipal Water District - Bon Tempe Trailhead

The water is your friend. You don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move. ~Aleksandr Popov

Locale: Marin Municipal Water District, Fairfax, Marin County, CA
Date: Sunday, July 6, 2008
Price: $7
Duration: 5.3 miles (3.5 hrs)
Activity Level: Moderate
All in All: A varied hike that offers a touch of everything.
Rating: ***1/2
Maps & More Info:

I do not live in Marin County but must say that it offers some of the most magnificient hikes in the area. Many of the hikes noted also have educational value as well. Particularly this one which is found just in the wooded area behind downtown Fairfax in Marin. The Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) is the source of the water output in Marin County. The lakes here are tapped to serve some 60 million gallons per day! They are filled with different kinds of fish from trout to bass and on a hot summer day, diving into the Bon Tempe Lake feels too tempting to resist. Unfortunately it is not allowed or else it pollutes the water source.

To get to the Bon Tempe trailhead, get on Sir Frances Drake Blvd from 580 (San Rafael Bridge) or from 101. Drive around 10 miles to Fairfax and turn left on Claus which is a dead end in a parking lot. Turn the next right and follow onto Sky Oaks Road the uphill path to the MMWD, pay at the kiosk and go to the second parking lot found on crushed gravel. To start the hike go up the hill from the lot and right away you will see Bon Tempe Dam and lake. The water is nearly transparent and you can sense right away that there will be plenty of wildlife here as the water source looks so pure. We saw a duck cross in front of us as we drove from the kiosk and birds are plentiful here.

Note the signs where fishing is allowed (catch and release is encouraged) and also PLEASE note you are not allowed to swim or have animals swim in the lake as well. On our hike, it was hot and dry and the pretty water was beckoning us but we endured. That didn't stop fellow hikers from letting their dogs covort in the water however. Turn right after the path splits and follow Kent Trail. It begins to climb uphill into the woods alongside the water. It is quite interesting how this hike steadily got more difficult as we went along. Jane Huber on also states something similar. Though the elevation change is not too large and it is only 5 miles long, the hike became a bit exhausting at times due to steep climbs, fallen trees, hiking on loose rocky turf and belts of dry heat. We passed an older woman wearing uncomfortable rubber flip flops (I do not know how and why she chose to wear them). Sturdy boots are recommended.

As you climb up and down watch for birds and sounds of small animals in the brush. There will be a junction with Helen Markt Rd at around 2 miles in but stay on Kent Trail. Here you will be walking away from the water and deeper into the redwoods. Notice how many of the redwoods share a core and branch out. It makes for interesting pictures. Also look for Hidden Lake or "Hidden Swamp" which is what we called it. At about 3 miles or so in and over half done you may feel as if you've been hiking for much longer due to the steep sections and the heat if you go on a hot day. As it is July, we opted to go to this Marin hike rather then go to the desert-like feel of Las Trampas but were we in for a shocker when we got onto Stocking Trail. Stocking Trail will be at about 3.7 miles in and you will take a left onto it. It will lead you the last 1.5 miles to the dam where you started.

It was past high noon on a sunny hot day in July and we realized we were heading uphill on loose rock no longer shaded by tall redwood guards soaking up the UV rays. At this point as well we were about to run out of water (which I recommend bringing a lot of as well as sunscreen) and I had started to stop sweating. A sign of dehydration. At last, the trail at the top gives us vast views of Mt. Tam and Marin. It's literally all downhill for the next mile. At times steeply so. If you are lucky you'll walk through pockets of breeze followed by pockets of dry hot air.

You will come out next to the starting point - right at the edge of the dam. I made a huge mistake before even starting the hike and I later paid for it in the car on the ride home (I'm sure no details are needed). I did not eat nearly enough for breakfast adding to my loss of energy, hunger pangs and dehydration. We also only brought one odwalla bar between us. I didn't feel very well for a few hours following the hike but made sure to still drink enough. For hikes such as this I recommend eating a hearty protein filled breakfast, drinking lots of water, bringing sunscreen and watching for signs of dehydration. Never the less, I enjoyed this hike quite rightly. It gave us a bit of redwoods, beautiful lakeshore views, desert-like air, ridge top views and wildlife scenery. I highly recommend this brief but thigh-workout.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pt Reyes - Bear Valley to Arch Rock

"To cross this valley to the peninsula (Point Reyes) is to leave modern California and enter an island of wilderness, forgotten by progress, a quiet land misplaced in a noisy world."

-Stephen Trimble

Locale: Point Reyes National Seashore, Olema, Marin County, CA
Date: Saturday, June 27, 2008
Duration: 8.8 miles (4.5 hours)
Price: Free
Activity Level: Easy
All in All: A great way to spend a morning or afternoon stroll to the ocean.
Rating: ****
Maps and More Info:

I love Point Reyes. I don't think I can emphasize this notion any other way then to simply express it. It's not very far away from the Bay Area and offers people such an array of things to do. Whether it's hiking, camping, kayaking or just eating oysters. In fact I get so upset when I find Bay Area natives who have never been here. I have only lived here for 2 years and could not imagine living here my whole life without escaping to this national seashore. This particular hike is easy to get to, far easier than the Palomarin hike. Simply from 101N or S from either San Fran or the north, take the Sir Francis Drake exit near San Quentin. Follow this through the cities of Fairfax and San Anselmo through Samuel P Taylor Park into the small town of Olema. Once at the stop sign in front of numerous Olema lodges, turn right, followed by a quick left on Bear Valley rd. Take this left past the red barn to the end of the lot by the visitor's center. Though we didn't spend much time perusing the center, it offers books, maps, a donation box and a few exhibits.

There are many trailheads here but take the Bear Valley trailhead at the end of the horse trailer parking lot to begin. You'll stay on Bear Valley Trail all the way except for a small bit approaching Arch Rock - just follow the signs. This trail is so simple that you do not need a map or compass, all you need to do is stay on the trail and take in the fresh air. In our case, it was a bit of smoky air coming from the numerous wildfires. But this and the cool weather didn't stop us or dozens of other hikers we saw on the trail. As I hear, the Bear Valley hike is one of the most popular Point Reyes hikes. I could tell just by parking in the lot. There were scores of cars and we passed many families and campers on the trail as well.

The beginning of the hike leads you into woodsy area with Bear Valley Creek to the left side. At around 1.6 miles in, you will see a bathroom and carved out trees made into benches. This is a good spot to have a quick break if you need, though you have about 7 more miles to travel.

About a mile before Arch Rock, there's a bike rack. Weird, huh? Not really. Bicyclists are allowed on the trails to this point and are expected to park here for the remainder of their hike or stay. If you do not sharing trails with equestrians then I suggest taking the hike on the weekends even if it's a bit more crowded. Equestrians aren't allowed here on the weekends but you will definitely be stepping in and around horse droppings.

The hike to Arch Rock is around 4.4 miles after which, you turn back and go the way you came. Approaching Arch Rock is exciting because if you've been driving on Sir Francis Drake, you have yet to see the beautiful Pacific. When the trail splits into two, take the left descending trail. At this point you will not be able to see the ocean quite yet but you can hear it. Soon enough though you see Arch Rock with people around sitting enjoying a brief lunch. This is what I like about Pt Reyes, it's ability to completely astound you. Atop Arch Rock you will see the beach below and many cliffs to either side of you and below. The trail continues down to the beach as well if you like to get closer to the water. We chose to simply sit and have a snack and watch seagulls.

Before we headed back, we saw a group of kayakers go by and waved at them. It was still a bit smoky and cloudy but it was still a wonderful view to take in. I can never deny a day at Point Reyes. When ready, turn back and follow Bear Valley Trail the way you came in. Hopefully you'll enjoy this featured hike as much as I did. Though I did enjoy the Palomarin hike to Alamere Falls a bit better, Bear Valley still has me wanting to come back for more.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Land's End - Coastal Trail

“The writer loves the fog as it pours in; he loves the sun when the fog pours out. The rest of California is Beach Boys country, but San Francisco has that moody thing going on, those blues notes wrapped in moisture, an atmosphere that tempers California dreaming and makes life more real. But he loves the sun, too, that Frisbee-tossing, forehead-baking golden sun that prevents the loss of eight months of the year to winter. The fog brings reality, but it is still a California reality, one spent outdoors the whole year round.”

-Eric Maisel

Locale: Land's End-Coastal Trail, San Francisco, CA

Date: Sunday, June 8, 2008

Duration: 3.5 miles (2.5 hours)

Price: Free

Activity: Easy

All in All: A great walk through Sutro ruins, beaches, and Sea Cliff

Rating: ****

If you have a few hours to kill and are in the city, you might want to trek down to this easy brief hike in between China and Ocean Beaches. Follow Geary straight towards the water and park along the street down by the Cliff House. Currently the big parking lot at Merrie Way is under construction and you can't park here but there's plenty of parking across the street. Start by walking along the Sutro Bath ruins. As many locals know, this once housed a large pool house surrounded by the Pacific, theaters and artifacts. It was built by millionaire mayor Adolph Sutro in the late 1800's. It was later destroyed by the big earthquake and fires. Now all that's left is the foundation of some of it and muddy water but look at the picture of what it once was (found at Louis' Restaurant) and you can imagine why thousands flocked to it everyday. After exploring the ruins climb back up to the sidewalk and up to the intersection at the top of the hill and you'll find coastal trail on the left. It starts on a paved double path. Up ahead you'll see the Golden Gate and you'll hear the sounds of an old lighthouse.

Most likely you'll be accompanied by runners, bicyclists, tourists and dog walkers. The trail eventually becomes dirt and you will climb stairs. At the end of Coastal Trail, continue along the sidewalk on El Camino Del Mar. You are now in wealthy country and you won't be mistaken by this once you see the mansions and beautiful multimillion dollar houses that make up the Sea Cliff neighborhood home to many of the rich and/or famous such as Robin Williams. Continue straight until you see a road going down on your left to China Beach. Enjoy a nice picnic or wade through the cold waters of the ocean while taking in some rays and enjoying the great views of the Golden Gate and the Marin Headlands beyond it.

Walking back to your car - just follow the same way that you arrived along Coastal Trail. If you long down at the cliffs below you may see some remnants from shipwrecks. These spots are pointed out on a large map post at the end of the trail.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park

"Wilderness is the raw material out of which
man has hammered the artifact called civilization."
-Aldo Leopold

Locale: Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, San Pablo, Contra Costa County, CA
Date: Sunday, June 1, 2008
Duration: 7 miles (3.5 hours)
Price: Free
Activity: Moderate with a strenuous uphill section
All in All: A great hike with wonderful views of the best of the bay area.
Rating: ***1/2
Maps and More Info:

The hike is fairly easy to get to and also fairly easy to follow as well. If you are coming from San Francisco on I-80, turn on the Amador/Solano exit at San Pablo and drive a few blocks east on Amador and then right on McBryde. If coming from the north on I-80 go on the McBryde exit and turn left onto it. After about .5 mile you'll see Wildcat Canyon park. Parking is a bit sparse but maybe you'll get lucky as we did. Admire the goats before starting. Start the hike at the entrance cattle gate on paved road. For those of you who do not like hiking on paved or blacktopped roads, I'd suggest not going here but it's maybe for about 2 or 2.5 miles of the hike.

The trailhead is on wildcat creek trail, follow this for about half mile and turn left onto Belgum Trail, that's Belgum, not BELGIUM. Belgum is named after a nurse named Belgum who used to work at the sanitarium which was along this trail. Stop and read the signs to find out more. In the early 1900's a sanitarium for those with "nervous disorders" as they were called before the DSM came out, was located near a few palm trees (which are still there now). Long after it was abandoned, vandals just had to burn it to the ground. You will continue on Belgum for a few miles and climbing up to the summit. Behind you, you will start to see expansive views of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate, Mt. Tam and even northwards.
Once you think you're at the top you are not. Past the bench on the left, you will see two hills. One fairly close and one in the distance. You will be climbing both of these hills. The first hill has the steepest stretch. Turn right on San Pablo Ridge Trail right before the first hill. Climb upwards, rest a bit, and climb a bit more and then take in the view.

Follow San Pablo Ridge for awhile as it flattens before you reach the second hill in the distance. You'll pass by cattle which are grazing the land. But don't try to frighten them as they may grunt at you or even charge.

Continue up the second hill and shortly after you'll reach a cattle gate. You will then be on Nimitz Way Trail. After about a mile, turn right on Havey Canyon Trail. This will take you into the woods for some comfort shade. One thing to note on this hike is that it can get very still and warm in certain areas, cold and windy at the top of the hills and then cool in the shaded woods. On Havey Canyon, you'll also cross a small creek and follow this trail for around 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Wildcat Creek Canyon for the last 2 miles. The last bit is paved and familiar but is mainly flat the whole time. This hike is pretty convenient for East-Bayers and offer some great views at the top of the hills. Recently, a mountain lion and her cub were located so if you are looking for wildlife, this may be the right place. We saw some wild turkeys. The hike may not be the most traveled nor the most beautiful but it is unique.