Today I hiked at Anthony Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley again. I decided to try a difficult hike from the Trails Challenge. The distance was not long but the elevation change was substantial, especially the last part of the hike. Today’s hike also went past the stone bridge, but made a loop from the other side of the park. And it never went past the lake.
I passed many interesting wildflowers today. It is surprising to me that they are still blooming because we are well past springtime now and it’s so dry this year. But I did see many wildflowers: California poppy, sticky monkey flower (see my photo above, it’s one of my personal favorites!), thistle (which I learned is not a native CA flower, but it’s fun to say the name), and my new one, Shortstem Morning Glory, a tiny white or pink flower that grows in the dirt along the trail. I also saw lots of poison oak and rattlesnake grass which is very cool.
I especially enjoyed today because I realized that I was starting at a new trailhead, the Marciel Gate Staging Area. I’ve never been there before and it’s also the entrance to the campground. I’m tempted to just drive up some afternoon and spend the night sometime. It’s right here in Oakland!
I also realized that many of the trails in the East Bay Regional Park system criss cross with other nationally known trails. The trail signs showed that I was hiking along the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which is a personal favorite of mine. It’s a proposed trail system that encircles the entire bay area, and it’s only partially completed. There are numerous fundraisers throughout the year to raise money to complete it. The Thru-hike fundraiser is scheduled for later this summer and takes place in the East Bay hills. I did it last year and it was tons of fun with a great group of people.
The other trail that I didn’t know much about is the East Bay Skyline Trail which is a stretch of trails that begins in Richmond and follows all along through the East Bay hills to Castro Valley. It would be fun to try to complete the whole 30 mile trail! Some of it I’m sure I’ve already done!
The last trail is the Juan Bautista de Anza which is the nationally recognized trail. I’m still learning about that one. It basically begins in Mexico and travels up through Arizona and then finishes in California, here in the Bay Area! It follows along the route of the Anza Expedition in 1775-1776 that colonized the San Francisco Bay area.
Who knew there was so much history along our East Bay hiking trails?
Start/end: Marciel Gate Staging Area parking lot in Anthony Chabot Regional Park
Trails: Redtail, Grass Valley, Brandon, Deer Canyon, Redtail
Approximate mileage: 3.92