Courtesy of @hiroshi_photos

Trails Less Traveled: Wide Open Spaces and Loops Around the Bay Area

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The parks are opening back up and life is starting to look a little more normal, but as we dive deeper into the summer, many of our favorite hiking trails are more crowded than ever.

Whether you're looking for a weekend staycation or an escape from all those Zoom calls, the Bay Area has plenty of hidden gems to help you get your nature fix, all at a safe and responsible social distance.


Mt. Tamalpais Watershed, Greenbrae

Lakeview Fire Road, Northside, Collier and Lagunitas Loop

If you're looking to take on a more challenging route, check out Lakeview Fire Road, Northside, Collier and Lagunitas Loop, located near Greenbrae, California. This 7-mile loop weaves in an out of the woods and around Lake Lagunitas. The steep climbs will certainly wake you up from your SIP slumber, but you'll be rewarded with beautiful views of Mt. Tam. #worthit

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Bolinas

McCurdy Trail

Chances are, Fido's felt a little cooped up, too! Check out the McCurdy Trail for a stellar 5-mile out and back trail that's sure to help you both stretch those paws. Bonus, head out in the evening for stunning sunset views and to experience golden hour at it's finest.

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Old St. Hillary's Open Space Preserve, Tiburon

Old Saint Hillary's Church and Picnic Rock

If you're looking for a quick and easy trail that comes with all the rewarding views and of longer hikes, then escape to Belvedere for the afternoon and test out Old Saint Hillary's Church and Picnic Rock trail. On a clear day, you can see all three bridges, but it's the famous old white church that's the true stunner—no matter how foggy or overcast the weather. This short loop is great for all abilities and ages and will make you question whether you're still in California.

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Oakland

Red Tail to Columbine Loop

For those looking for a trail run, Red Tail to Columbine Loop is a must. Head over to Oakland to hit up this 8.3-mile loop weekend warrior–worthy trot through the forest. The trail has good tree coverage, making it a great option for warmer summer months. Just make sure to slow down and take in the views of the city, Lake Chabot, and San Leandro Reservoir.

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley

Bort Meadow and Buckeye Trail to Grass Valley

The wildflowers are still in bloom, which means you don't want to miss this hike. One of the most popular trails to keep a safe social distance, the Bort Meadow and Buckeye Trail loop near Castro Valley is great for all skill levels. Not only is this trail dog-friendly, but chances are you may run into a few horseback riders, too!

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Tilden Regional Park, Kensington

Jewel Lake via Sylvan Trail and Upper Packrat

The name says it all. This 1.5-mile loop is a jewel of a trail. Nestled in Kensington, just north of Berkeley, this trail has views of Jewel Lake and is well shaded, making it a great option for a quick and easy hike or nature trip with kids.

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve, Redwood City

El Corte de Madera Loop, Fir Trail and Methuselah

Any bird watchers out there? Have we got the place for you. This 10-mile loop near Redwood City has it all. From the views of the Tafoni Sandstone formation to the vista point ocean lookout, chances are you just might forget about the birds. Saunter through towering redwoods and keep your eyes peeled for the ancient Methuselah Tree. The best time to explore this local gem is April through September.

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve, San Jose

Sierra Vista and Calaveres Fault Trail

For the truly adventurous at heart, head south to San Jose and test your abilities on the Sierra Vista and Calaveres Fault Trail. At just under 10 miles, this trail will challenge you with its fair share of inclines, but the wildflowers and contrasting views of the South Bay are worth the work. Made up of a lot of single track, there is little coverage, so make sure to bring plenty of water, especially as we get deeper into the summer months.

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Joseph D. Grant County Park, Mount Hamilton

Dairy Dutch Flat and Brush Trail Loop

Another great day hike to share with your furry, four-legged friend, Mount Hamilton's Dairy, Dutch Flat and Brush Trail Loop is on the longer side at 7.5 miles and offers views of both San Jose, the valley, and the mountains.

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Dimond Park, Oakland

Old Cañon Trail and Sausal Creek Loop

Your epic vacation may be on hold, but you can still head over to Old Cañon Trail and Sausal Creek Loop to check out the waterfall, creek, rope swings, and shady paths. An easy, breezy, 1.5-mile loop, this hike has it all and is an option that can be enjoyed by trail-goers of all skill levels. A little oasis, smack dab in the middle of OakTown. Who knew!?

For maps, details, and photos of this trail, go to alltrails.com.

Check out the AllTrails app to find more Trails Less Traveled to add to your summer hiking bucket list. And before you trek, get caught up to speed on the rules of getting outdoors responsibly during COVID-19, put together by AllTrails' team of medical advisors. It's up to us to take care of each other. Let's keep the one place we all look to for solace—the great outdoors—safe for all.

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