Footloose in the Fall – Hiking in the East Bay

Autumn is a fine season for hiking in the East Bay Regional Parks and other public open spaces. The heat of summer has abated, the air seems fresher, and there’s even some fall color in the leaves.


With all this in mind, park district naturalists have planned lots of outdoor activities in the coming days.


One of them is a “Footloose Friday” hike from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Briones Regional Park, led by “Trail Gail” Broesder.


Meet Gail at the Alhambra Valley staging area off Reliez Valley Road near Martinez for a trek through Briones’ hills and canyons. Bring lunch and water and wear sturdy shoes. For more information and directions, call 510-544-2233.


Another hiking series is Saturday and Sunday Strolls. There’s one from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. Meet at the park’s Canyon Meadow staging area for a moderate, four-mile hike through sometimes steep terrain. Redwood is one of the better regional parks for fall color, too.


Canyon Meadow is at the end of the road that leads into the park from Redwood Road in Oakland. For information, call 510-544-3187.


For those who prefer a more leisurely and contemplative hiking experience, there’s the Tortoise Trekker series. There’s a tortoise trek from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23 to enjoy morning from atop Flag Hill in Sunol Regional Wilderness. It’s a steep climb, a 3½-mile round trip, led by naturalist Cat Taylor. The view from the top is well worth the effort, though.


The tortoise trek is free of charge, but registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 14776.


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Animals are out and about in the regional parks, too, though we don’t always see them. At Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley, infrared motion detecting cameras have been set up in various locations to record animal activities.


Naturalist Anthony Fisher will show some of the results during a program from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23 at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center. The center is at the north end of Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.


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A low tide search for actual crabs at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda is scheduled during Family Nature Fun Hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23.


Naturalists will lead a search through the mud flats for crabs and other intertidal residents. Dress to get dirty.


After that it’s fish feeding time from 3 to 3:30 p.m. at the Crab Cove aquarium, which contains examples of many of the fish that inhabit San Francisco Bay.


Crab Cove Visitor Center is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.


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Besides coyotes, Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont has a population of native grey foxes, an animal that has been around for several million years. Naturalist Francis Mendoza will disclose some foxy facts during a short hike from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23 at the park. The hike is for ages 12 and older.


Meet at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center, which is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway.


Coyote Hills also has Family Fun Hour every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. The theme on Oct. 22 is the colors of nature; on Oct. 23 it’s autumn leaves. For information, call 510-544-3220.