Here’s a perfect fall hike that could easily become a new tradition. Make your way to Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the Oakland Hills for a 3.5-mile (round-trip) hike alongside the East Bay’s 10-million-year-old volcano.
Start on the Bay Area Ridge Trail (it’s the only dirt trail behind the parking lot). Quickly descend into a valley blanketed by deciduous trees and undergrowth.
At the end of the trail, follow the pedestrian-only section of Old Tunnel Road, ascending a nearby peak. As you climb, pivot to enjoy views of the valley: Fall colors are in good form this time of year.
Approaching the end of the road, be sure to take a right to avoid the fenced-off landslide section, and continue onto the Volcanic Trail and take a seat on one of the benches to let the scenery soak in. On clear days you’ll see the Marin Headlands overtop the nearby Oakland Hills.
Continuing on, be sure to take a moment to read the information on the markers, each describing a piece of the area’s geologic history.
Keep to the right on the Volcanic Trail as you enter the section of trail bordered by chaparral. Be sure to take a good look around because—you’re hiking on a dormant volcano! Known as Round Top, the volcano is one of the East Bay’s highest peaks, formed by massive tectonic forces on the Hayward and Moraga faults that uplifted the Berkeley Hills.
Stay on this trail until the finish.
The hike begins at the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve’s parking lot off Skyline Blvd. Water and bathrooms are available at the parking lot. Dog-friendly!