During summer, Lake Anza in Tilden Regional Park is packed with swimmers and concession-stand goodies. But go now and it’s all about a stroll where the “splash” comes from subtle fall foliage. An easy 1.5-mile loop around the lake passes under the shade of live oak and redwoods before hugging the eastern shore of the lake where you’ll add some adventure to your amble with a brief scramble over rocks and boulders. Pass through a grove of fragrant eucalyptus trees before heading up the Wildcat Gorge Trail, currently covered in rich yellow and orange-brown leaves and pine needles. Most of the fall colors are found along Wildcat Creek, which is home to rainbow trout and California newts. After a few minutes, you’ll loop back to the lake via Selby Trail.
From I-80 in Berkeley, take the University Ave. exit and go east all the way to Oxford St. Turn left and go .7-mile to Rose St. Turn right and go one block to Spruce St. Turn left and follow Spruce 1.8 miles to an intersection with Grizzly Peak Blvd. and Wildcat Canyon Rd. Cross the intersection and immediately make a left on Canon Dr. Go down to Central Park Dr., turn right, and go .75-mile to Lake Anza Rd. Follow this to the parking lot. From Lake Anza, get on the Lake Anza Trail, which veers left from the main entrance. Follow this trail as it makes its way around the lake. Don’t go over the second bridge; rather, continue on the Wildcat Gorge Trail. When this trail ends, join the Selby Trail. This takes you back to the main parking area. Here’s a map of the park. Dog-friendly!