Picnic With a View

Kirby CoveIf your idea of a Memorial Day outing does not involve shoulder-to-shoulder picnic blankets, then you might consider filling your backpack with goodies, lacing up your hiking shoes, and trekking to one of these less-populated natural spots. 

Mt. Diablo’s Eagle Peak
At 2,369 feet, it’s not as high as Diablo’s main peak (3,849 feet), but the 6-mile round trip journey is enticingly laced with wildflowers and great panoramas. Eagle’s Peak summit has views in all directions including the Delta, Suisin Bay and Mt. Diablo’s North Peak.

Park at Juniper Campground and start hiking northwest on Deer Flat Rd. After a half-mile, bear right at the first junction to stay on Deer Flat Rd. After another mile, you’ll reach the Deer Flat area; make a right onto Meridian Ridge Rd. and hike .75-mile. Turn left onto the signed spur trail for Eagle Peak; it’s another .75-mile to the summit. Return the way you came. No dogs.

Cataract Falls
This 6.5 mile, round-trip hike on Mt. Tam’s less-traveled North side offers a Douglas fir forrest, oaks, mossy boulders, wildflowers, the Cataract Creek with its falls, picnic areas and broad views of the Bay Area.

Park at Mount Tam’s Rock Springs trailhead. Follow the Cataract Trail for 1.5 miles, passing the Laurel Dell picnic area. When you reach the High Marsh Trail, follow the steps down for a view of Cataract Falls, then turn around and continue on the High Marsh Trail. In 2 miles, reach the Kent Trail and turn right. Follow it for 1 mile to Potrero Meadows. Briefly follow a fire road uphill until it ends at another fire road. Turn left and in 50 feet turn right onto the signed Benstein Trail. This returns to the trailhead. Dog-friendly!

Sunol Regional Wilderness
Sunol has 6,859 acres of nature, but you’ll only need to cover 3.2 miles, round-trip, to take in its soaring views of the golden West Coast hills. You will also pass High Valley Camp, a mountainside retreat with an old windmill and water tower.

1895 Geary Rd. in Sunol just south of Pleasanton. Parking is $5. Start from the southeast end of the visitor center parking lot. Cross a footbridge and head right along Indian Joe Nature Trail. Pass through a gate with an arrow on it to head up the unmarked Indian Joe Creek Trail. Turn left at Cave Rocks Rd., and left again immediately after High Valley Camp, and you’ll start down Hayfield Rd. on your return. Dog-friendly!

Kirby Cove
This secluded Marin beach has amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and avoids the afternoon fog on many days. Kirby Cove is accessible and secluded, and not a bad hike in.

Look for the entry gate to the 1-mile fire road to Kirby Cove off of Conzelman Road (the last exit before you go over the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin). Keep an eye out for a locked gate that blocks the fire road to Kirby Cove, and throws off most tourists. It is near the pullouts for Battery Spencer. No dogs.

Comments are closed.