A hike that begins and ends at one of the most swimmable lakes in the East Bay? Now that’s the way to hit “Refresh”! Tilden Regional Park is the crown jewel of the East Bay Regional Parks, and Lake Anza is its summertime heartbeat. From the lake, connect a series of trails to make a highly enjoyable 3.25-mile loop hike. Starting from the lake, briefly walk the Wildcat Gorge Trail before veering up into the eucalyptus on Curran Trail and then left onto Meadows Canyon Trail.
This quiet trail parallels the more popular Nimitz Way Trail for 1.4 miles and offers some great views of the East Bay hills. It then connects back onto the Wildcat Gorge Trail, beside the gently flowing Wildcat Creek and some scattered redwoods.
Before you know it, you’re back at the lake, where the big question is “Do I hit the concession stand first, or go swimming?” Oh right, swimming first! Then chocolate-dipped soft-serve or a root beer float should hit the spot!
Park at Lake Anza parking area. Walk along the lakeside trail. Soon after crossing a bridge, turn left on Wildcat Gorge Trail. It can be hard to see the trail sign. Go a short distance and turn right on the Curran Trail. After 0.6 mile turn left onto Meadows Canyon Trail and follow it for 1.4 miles until reaching Lone Oak picnic area. Turn left and follow the Wildcat Gorge Trail back to Lake Anza. There’s a $3.50 entry fee for the lake, which is open daily until September 9. The trail is dog-friendly! No dogs at the lake.