In the last 5 weeks we've been on two fantastic hikes, one in the East Bay and one in the North Bay. This lead us to start thinking about our favorite hikes since moving to the Bay Area. By limiting the list to the Bay Area, we're leaving out fantastic hikes that we've done further abroad (Yosemite, Mendocino, Napa, Santa Cruz, etc), but perhaps we'll save those for another post, another day.
Our Five Favorite Bay Area Hikes…
1. Abbot's Lagoon
January 14, 2012 with Sascha
Our most recent hike and our favorite. From marshland to lagoon to seaside, this was a beautiful hike even in winter. Lots of birds to see, including this brown pelican:
After reaching the dunes, we walked for about 1/2 mile along the
oceanfront with Pearl practicing cartwheels along the way.
On the day we went, there were hardly any people on the trail so we practically had the beach to ourselves.
We even heard elephant seals at the South end of the shore getting ready for their mating season. Towards the end of the hike, with skittish quail dodging about in the underbrush, a herd of deer moved down from the hills to graze at the trailside. Beautiful.
2. Tennessee Valley
May 17, 2009 with Pia and Dustin; July 3, 2009 with Jackie
Another hike through the marsh and past a lagoon that ends up at the ocean.
The weather in May was perfect (in July it was cold and windy). We saw quails and wild turkeys as we walked the trail, and were dive-bombed by an angry hummingbird. The cove at the end of this hike made for a lovely picnic spot.
3. Coyote Hills Regional Park (Fremont)
December 17, 2011 with Krista, Sascha, Tim, Travis
Coyote Hills Regional Park is located on the East side of the San Francisco Bay. We didn't see any coyote here, but we saw plenty of muskrats by the edge of the marsh. And there are lots of birds here, from ducks to hawks to egrets, we saw perhaps two dozen different bird species. There are some fantastic photos of the kinds of birds you can expect to see at the park on the Bay Area Hike website:
We definitely plan to return with binoculars and a high-def camera.
4. Coit Tower and the Filbert Steps
March 28, 2009, just the two of us; August 20, 2011 with Krista, Mags, Mark, Sascha, Stu.
We hiked Coit tower in 2009 shortly after seeing the documentary The Parrots of Telegraph Hill, about the colony of parrots that inhabit the trees on the Filbert Street side of the hill that leads up to the Tower.
The tower itself is worth seeing as a city landmark, though it's been very crowded both times we visited. Our favorite part about this hike is the 436-steps up Filbert to get up to Coit Tower. We have yet to see any parrots on our walks here (though we did get to see some from our deck in Noe Valley), but you can't miss their incessant squawking in the trees overhead. The gardens along the steps are not to be missed, and neither is the wonderful view of the city skyline from atop the hill.
5. Secret Sausalito Stairways
August 14, 2010 with Stephen
It was the Car-Free Outdoors website that introduced us to the Secret Sausalito Stairways, for which we are very grateful. The next time you're in Sausalito, try touring the seaside village by way of Jen's instructions in the link above. Climbing the stairs is quite an adventure but the views make it all worthwhile. Turns out, this trip was training for Pearl and Stephen's trip to Machu Picchu later this year.