2013 takes on a new shine over the undulating trails behind Chabot Space and Science Center at the apex of the Oakland Hills (and 1500 feet above the bay). Join one of their full-moon winter night hikes through fragrant coast redwoods and eucalyptus groves. Routes range in length (usually 3 to 5 miles round-trip) and difficulty, but the celestial thrill is constant. Gaze upwards for a crash course in constellations and watch as the moon crests over the horizon. (Chabot provides binoculars.) As the stars curl across the atmosphere, you can almost feel the earth’s rotation.
OUT OF THIS WORLD BONUS: On Friday and Saturday nights, Chabot’s giant telescopes—including the largest telescope open to the public west of the Mississippi—stay open late for celestial viewing and starlit views of the Bay Area.
The Chabot Space and Science Center is located at 10000 Skyline Blvd. in Oakland. Hikes cost $10/person. Reservations are encouraged (510-336-7306), though walk-ups are welcome, space permitting. Telescope is open Friday and Saturday nights, from dusk or 7:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Use the gate at the back of the center and follow signs to the observatory entrance gate. Parking is free at the Chabot lot. No dogs on night hikes.