Our hike in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park began at the main parking lot and head up the creek. We looped back around via the Havey Canyon Trail and San Pablo Ridge Trail and finally through Alvarado Park for a 9-mile, moderate hike.
Alvarado Park Area
This area of the park was privately owned from 1909 until 1923 when it was transferred to the City of Richmond. Finally, in 1985, it became part of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. Remnants of the roller rink and open-air pavilion still remain as well as a stone arch bridge. The structures were completed as part of a Depression-era Works Project Administration project. Due to this fact, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The area still remains a popular picnic area. The many trees provide ample shade.
Wildcat Creek to San Pablo Ridge
Most of the hike follows fire roads, making it prime for beginner mountain bikers. Wildcat Creek Trail is fairly level and very well maintained. A water fountain and picnic table is located at the junction with Mezue Trail. If you chose to take the Mezue Trail, your hike will be shortened by approximately 2.5 miles. However, the hike will be more exposed, something to keep in mind if you are hiking in the summer months.
We chose to take the Havey Canyon Trail, as per the challenge. The trail follows a creek and is shaded. Even though the rest of the park was dry, this trail was moist to the touch. Mountain bikers be warned, the trail is closed under wet conditions. The steepest climb begins after crossing the creek about half way up trail. The good new is that it is an easy climb. Once you reach Nimitz Way, you will turn left and head to the San Pablo Ridge Trail. Both are wide fire roads but provide great views of the San Francisco Bay, including the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, and the neighborhoods of the East Bay.
As you descend back to the parking area, you will have to chose to head straight back to the car or to head to the Alvarado Park Area. We think that the diversion to Alvarado Park is worth the extra distance. Carry a map and pay close attention to the ACTUAL trail. Many use trail exist in the area. Eventually, you will hit a neighborhood and need to hike down the street for a block.
Continue to zig zag down the slop until you reach your car.
East Bay Skyline National Trail
The 32-miles East Bay Skyline National Trail begins at the main parking lot of Wildcat Canyon and winds through 6 parks: Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, Tilden Regional Park, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, Redwood Regional Park, and Anthony Chabot Regional Park.
Camping for individuals or small groups can be found at Sibley Volcanic RP; camping is non-reservable and approximately 12 miles from the start.
Redwood RP also offers camping (although slightly off trail); camping is only by reservation and approximately 21-22 miles from the start, depending on the site. Contact the park district for more information.
There is also camping available at Anthony Chabot RP for those looking to camp at the end of the hike. Reservations are needed, contact the district for more information.
For more information on adventure in the area, visit our East Bay Regional Park District Agency Guide.