Walking in the Berkeley Hills

Tilden Park

On a recent Saturday, we walked for inspiration in the Berkeley Hills. Tilden Park has various entertainments. When we lived in the East Bay, we often enjoyed a fine stroll in this 2,079 acre park.

Inspiration Point Tilden Park

At Inspiration Point the view was partially blocked by tree growth and lingering fog. I can’t fault the trees, but many benches have been placed where now a few feet away drying anise, other tall weeds or tree branches blot out an inspiring view.

Up the Trail - Tilden Park

From the parking lot the vista north overlooks EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) reservoirs.

Nearby Nimitz Way is a wide paved fire road that goes uphill and down. Sometimes it is not gentle enough for me. I stopped to be inspired and rest. We spotted some flowers, a pair of naughty goldfinches and a kingsnake. We had to imagine a view of San Francisco Bay.

There were only a few walkers, joggers and bicyclists on this path. I remember another weekend here when I felt like I was in a parade. Many of miles of park trails are part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and East Bay Skyline National Trail. Nimitz goes for 4 miles.

Downhill is a valley full of recreational opportunities. There is a sparkling Lake Anza with a trail that circles it. One area is marked off for swimming and a beach. There’s a snack bar and picnic grounds and Frisbee-throwing-size fields nearby.

We enjoyed a particularly good soft ice cream, before visiting the Carousel, Farm and Environmental Education Center.

Another nearby flat walk that we have taken before is from the environmental center to Jewel Lake. The path involves going through dense riparian area on a 750’ boardwalk. It’s terrific summer or winter.

A not so flat walk is in the 740 acre Nature Area that goes from the center to the Nimitz Trail. (We passed it on our walk up there.)

Check out this map for more walks in Tilden Park and other close areas. Check out East Bay Regional Parks for all the other delightful walking trails and other outdoor amusements. You could do 31 miles from Wildcat Canyon through Tilden to Chabot Regional Park.

You can extend you hiking experience with an EBMUD permit to walk on their properties. One trail takes off from Inspiration Point’s parking lot.

Retrievers stare

UC Botanical Gardens

The next day we went to the UC Botanical Gardens above the football stadium on UC Berkeley’s campus. We tried to stick to the flattest paths, but it is built into a canyon hillside. In a short distance we went from New World desert to lush forest of China.

One area is called Crops of the World with beans from tropical America to lettuce from the Near East to African fava beans to European broccoli.

Retrievers stare

Greenhouses foster orchids or delicate desert cacti. In other words, they have everything.

Across the parking lot is access to a redwood grove, cool and peaceful. It is almost like home.

See you on the trail!

Lynn Millar

Pictures by Mike Millar

Berkeley Garden

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