Enjoy a historic hike in Alameda or Contra Costa County
The East Bay Regional Park District celebrates its 85th anniversary in 2019. What better time to visit some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most beautiful parks and open spaces?
With 122,000 acres and 73 parks, the District serves Alameda and Contra Costa counties and draws visitors from all over the world. This unique agency was created in 1934, during the Great Depression, with a founding bond measure which passed with 71 percent approval. Even in those hard times, people had the farsightedness to create a park system to preserve local watersheds, hills, and forests for future generations. 85th Anniversary Story Map.
Today the Park District stretches from southern San Franciso Bay to the San Joaquin Delta, preserving the region’s natural and cultural resources, including Ardenwood (a working Victorian-era farm), Black Diamond Mines (once California’s foremost coal-mining area), an extinct volcano, and unique habitat for rare wildflowers.
Treasured Trails System
In the 1970s, the Park District began creating an interconnected multi-use Regional Trails System to connect parks to transit hubs, schools, businesses, neighborhoods, and other parks. This trail network also serves an important role in the Bay Area’s green transportation network.
“Regional Trails are a wonderful historic and recreational resource with opportunities for walking, running, biking, and horseback riding,” says Beverly Lane, former mayor of Danville, Calif., and a Park District board member since 1994. “They are the culmination of decades of planning and advocacy by the Park District.”
Here are a few special trails to explore:
The East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail is one of 1,200 designated National Recreation Trails in the United States. The 32-mile continuous path traverses six of the East Bay’s most historic and picturesque parks and preserves. Among its delights are panoramic city and bay views and the largest remaining stand of coast redwood found in the East Bay.
The Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail traverses throughout East Bay parks, with about 80-miles of existing trail, including Del Valle Regional Park, Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Mission Peak Regional Preserve, and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, to list just a few. Named for the route taken by Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza during his 1776 expedition into the region, the multi-use trail is brought to life with interpretive panels, created in collaboration with the National Park Service, to tell the story of de Anza’s exploration. The trail will eventually cover a distance of 163 miles within the Park District.
The Iron Horse Regional Trail runs from Concord to Livermore. The 34-mile multi-use trail follows the Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way established in 1891 and abandoned in 1978. The railroad tracks were removed in 1979 and development of the Iron Horse Trail began in 1986. The multiuse paved trail will eventually cover a distance of 55 miles from Suisun Bay to Livermore.
“The East Bay Regional Park District is a national model for land preservation, recreation, green transportation, climate adaptation, parkland management, and connecting people with nature, ” says General Manager Robert E. Doyle. “Our 1,250 mile interconnected Regional Trail System highlights the legacy — and responsibility — we’ve inherited from forward-thinking citizens of the past.”
Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor