(UPDATE: Since the time of this issue’s publication on 3/18/20, many parks and beaches have closed. Our recommendation is that if you want a breath of fresh air, stay local in your community, and stay in accordance with the Shelter-in-Place guidelines from the state.)
1) A Message from Weekend Sherpa’s Founder
2) Sunol Salutations (CLOSED)
(UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, Sunol Regional Wilderness is closed starting 3/27/20. This is a dynamic situation. Please check East Bay Regional Parks for updates.) Well-known Sunol Regional Wilderness has 6,800 acres of bountiful terrain, yet few hikers actually experience the best views the park offers. Those are found along this 4-mile loop in Sunol’s northern boundary.
3) San Francisco’s Middle Earth
No need to travel to New Zealand to visit Middle Earth. San Francisco’s Mount Sutro Open Space is practically Hobbiton—a hidden “shire” in the middle of the city. Okay, maybe not quite as magical, but still an incredible place to take a hike in city limits.
4) Maria Is Magical (CLOSED)
(UPDATE: As of 3/22/20, the access road to reach this trailhead in Point Reyes is closed. The following areas and/or roads closed until further notice include: Limantour Beach, Drakes Beach, Drakes Estero, Mt. Vision Road.) Ready to find a beach to call your own? Make a visit to Santa Maria Beach in Point Reyes. It’s often overlooked for nearby Limantour Beach. What makes Santa Maria so quiet and peaceful? The 3-mile bike (or hike) in!
5) Sensational Sempervirens
The redwoods aren’t the only “big” things at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Right now the waterfalls are big, too! Sempervirens Falls is a quick 3.4-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike that rambles through an old-growth forest to a plunging waterfall.
6) Mellow in the Marsh (PARKING LOT CLOSED)
(UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, the parking lot for Pescadero State Beach is closed. The trails remain open. This is a dynamic situation. Please check California State Parks for updates.) Beach, birds, ice plant popping purple flowers: That’s a hiking slam dunk! Hike about 2 miles at Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve using their fully reopened and well-signed Sequoia Audubon Trail. Great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, great egrets, even turtles use the habitats here, which include a tidal estuary, woodlands, and water marshes.
7) Strolling with Sam (PARKING LOT CLOSED)
(UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, the parking lot for Samuel P. Taylor State Park is closed. The trails remain open. This is a dynamic situation. Please check California State Parks for updates.) No offense to Muir Woods (currently closed), but one of the best parks in the Bay Area to hang out with some big old redwood trees, and hardly any people, is Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Most people come here for the beautiful creekside campground. But the hiking here is pleasantly peaceful.
8) Hike the Dunes to the Beach (PARKING LOT CLOSED)
(UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, the parking lots for Sonoma Coast State Beaches are closed. The trails remain open. This is a dynamic situation. Please check California State Parks for updates.) Bodega Head is popular for its impressive cliff-hugging hiking trails, but few people follow the path north to a less-trodden hiking trail winding along the bluff and down to spectacular South Salmon Creek Beach.
9) To Do: Tilden for Wildflowers
Ingredients for a lush and lovely hike in Berkeley’s backyard: Just add water. And wildflowers! It all comes together in Tilden Regional Park. Hike in a landscape of greenery and wildflower scenery on a quick 2.5-mile loop.