Ingredients for a lush and lovely hike in Berkeley’s backyard: Just add water. And wildflowers! It all comes together in Tilden Regional Park thanks to all the recent rain. Hike in a landscape of greenery and wildflower scenery on a quick 2.5-mile loop that’s about to be a bounty of wildflowers.
Begin hiking on Quarry Trail and find yourself suddenly surrounded by grassy hillsides speckled in California poppy, silver lupine, and California buttercup. At the first junction, take a right and descend to a wooded area flanked by pines. This shaded forest floor allows wildflowers like the streambank springbeauty to bloom, and you might even catch flowering fruits like the woodland strawberry.
The descent takes you all the way to the halfway point, where you meet up with Lower Big Springs Trail and begin your return. Contrary to its name, the Lower Big Springs Trail takes you high up onto the ridge for gorgeous views of verdant neighboring hillsides, as well as Tilden Botanical Garden, San Francisco Bay, and even the Golden Gate Bridge. Continue down the trail until you reach the junction, and follow the Quarry Trail back to your starting point.
Parking is available at the Quarry Picnic Site and along Wildcat Canyon Road near the Quarry Trailhead. Parking is limited, so it is recommended that this hike be done in the morning before peak hours. You can find a guide to many of the wildflowers in Tilden Regional Park here. Rattlesnakes have been reported on this hike already this year so it is best to be on the lookout in sunny areas. Dog-friendly!