We completed these 3 hikes in 1 Friday afternoon. The circuit took approximately 8 hrs (includes driving time). These 3 parks are in close proximity to each other. Plan a driving route before leaving to optimize your time. You could also bike from park to park for a full day of exercise.
Roberts Regional Recreation Area – 3 miles, easy
NOTE: The parking lot will be closed September 15-19, 2014 for resurfacing. Parking will be limited.
Parking is $5/vehicle; $2/dog.
This small, shaded park is great for those trying to escape the heat; picnic areas are set in second-growth Redwood Groves (the original grove was logged in the mid-1800s) and the pool is popular with children. Access to the pool is $3/adult and $2/child. Swim lessons are also offered; check with the park for schedules and pricing.
Other activities include volleyball, baseball, and a jungle gym (shaded seating provided for the adults).
For the trail challenge, we needed to complete at 1.32-miles hike around the perimeter. Attaching Redwood Peak, Roberts Grove, and various other spurs made for a 3-mile hike with negligible elevation gain. Longer, day long hikes can be created by connecting with Redwood Regional Park.
Temescal Regional Recreation Area – 1.5 miles, easy
Note: The reservoir is currently closed due to blue-green algae; check with the park being heading there for a swim. Research fish safety before eating your catch.
Parking is $5/vehicle (April-October); $2/dog
The trail challenge led us to this park to complete a loop around the reservoir. The loop is 1.16 miles, we added a couple spurs. Interpretive signs explain the geology and history of the area. Picnic tables and docks are easily accessible.
Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve – 6 miles, moderate
Parking is free; dogs are free
You don’t need to head to the Cascades to explore California’s Volcanic past. East Bay residents can hike a defunct volcano right in their backyard at Sibley Regional Preserve.
Be sure to grab the trail map before hitting the trail; the map doubles as a guide to the interpretive signs. The 3.5-mile trail challenge loop covers most of the park. Mileage can be added by going to all the interpretive signs and also down to the pond. This park offers great views. It was also the quietest of the 3 parks we hit that day.
The Bay Area Ridge Trail/Skyline Trail runs along the Southern edge of the park and connects Sibley Volcanic to Huckleberry Regional Preserve and then to Redwood Regional Park. Longer hikes can be accomplished but utilizing this trail.
There is a backpacker camp in the park; inquire with East Bay Regional Park District about reservations. Backpacking frequently asked questions can be found here.