Ring Mountain in Marin County. (Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Hike on! Bay Area Parks and Trails That Are Open Now


We're easing into the outdoors again. While many of the trails around the Bay Area are loosening restrictions, health ordinances are asking us to keep our outdoor adventures local to our counties, for now. So we put together a list of some hikes and bike rides by county that are open as of this date.

Please be sure to check official websites before visiting for status updates and for alternative trails to consider if a particular trail is busy.

Also, check out our new rules of the trail to stay safe and enjoy your parks. Let's keep outside open!

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

This year is the 150th birthday of Golden Gate Park. So now it's officially a Golden Girl. Eureka! Now that the parks department has closed vehicle access on John F. Kennedy Drive from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive and on John F. Shelley Drive in John McLaren Park (at least for the duration of the Stay Home Order, currently until the end of May), there's a little more room to get some physical distance on walks, runs, or bike rides. Bring plenty of your own water. See the City Health Order of Allowable Activities.

Santa Clara County Hiking Trails

Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill. (Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Set in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Morgan Hill's Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve is remote, wild, and delivers summit views that can make you feel like you're on top of the world. Reach sweeping vistas of the Diablo Range on a 5-mile (round-trip) loop hike that starts on the Longwall Canyon Trail.

Another good option for hiking or mountain biking is Joseph D. Grant County Park, including this 5-mile loop. Stay updated on trail status and guidelines using the Santa Clara County Parks official site. If parking lots are full, trails are full. Bring plenty of your own water.

Russian Ridge Open Space, San Mateo County

We can't always guarantee timing, but recent rains and warm days can bring wildflowers to the Peninsula's Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. In spring this park can be a tapestry of colors, but even if the flower power isn't full-on, the views sure are! This moderate 5-mile hike has amazing views. Visit the Midpeninsula Open Space official website for information and updates during Covid-19. If parking lots are full, trails are full (do not park on the sides of roads). Bring plenty of your own water.

Briones Regional Park, Contra Costa County

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Epic views don't always come from bagging peaks. Sometimes it's all about the loop! There's a challenging 3.9-mile hike at Briones Regional Park where the reward is some of the East Bay's best views. Check the East Bay Regional Park District's official site for park and trail updates. If parking lots are full, trails are full. Bring plenty of your own water.

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, Alameda County

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

The rolling hills of Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park can bring an extra burst of color in spring—wildflowers hidden in the emerald grasses pop up (give or take rains!). Even if they don't pop, enjoy a 4.8-mile loop (and loping) hike among this park's 5,271 acres. Check the East Bay Regional Park District's official site for park and trail updates. If parking lots are full, trails are full. Bring plenty of your own water.

Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve, Marin County

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

When wildflower season starts to wane, don't tell Ring Mountain. The tiny but mighty open space preserve on the Tiburon Peninsula can often exhibit a wide range of wildflowers late into the season, not to mention one of the most jaw-dropping views of the bay. Take a nice, moderate 2.5-mile hike on the Loop and Phyllis Ellman trails and be glad that its 367 acres weren't turned into McMansions, thanks in part to the Nature Conservancy. Visit the Marin County Parks official page for updates and information, including links to the status of specific locations. Bring plenty of your own water, and note that, at press time, this trail is walk in or bike in only.

Napa & Sonoma County Hiking Trails

Skyline Wilderness Park. (Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Bottles of wine aren't the only things popping in Napa. Get in a 4-mile (round-trip) hike powered by beautiful views. Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa Valley is 850 acres of wilderness area managed by a nonprofit, and the frills come courtesy of nature's seasonal gifts; in springtime that means wildflowers. Over in Sonoma County, hidden in the hills south of Petaluma, Tolay Lake Regional Park is 3,400 acres of wide-open space, with a network of hiking and biking trails, along with plenty of grazing cattle. This place gets cracking hot in summer, and is exposed, so spring is a good time to go. Check Sonoma County Regional Park's official site for Covid-19 status and rules. If parking is full, trails are full. Bring plenty of your own water.

Also check out Weekend Sherpa's podcast, "Take It Outside," in which they discuss mask-phobia and three national parks in California to put on your ASAP list for when they open (which may be soon!).

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