Vollmer Victory

Hike to Vollmer Peak in Tilden Regional Park

Inspiration’s just the start of this 6.8-mile (round-trip) hike up the highest peak in the Berkeley Hills. Located at the southern end of Tilden Regional Park, Vollmer Peak rises 1,905 feet. The diverse trail to the summit begins at popular Inspiration Point and travels through pine trees and golden grassland. From Inspiration Point, follow the singletrack Curran Trail to Seaview Trail, a fire road passing through tall eucalyptus groves before opening up onto the ridgeline of Tilden Park’s eastern edge. Climbing the ridgeline the rest of the way, you’ll see the sunnier side of the bay and get nice views of the Briones and San Pablo Reservoirs, along with Mount Diablo . There are plenty of spots for stopping to enjoy the view. Take a seat at the unique bench carved into the trunk of a dying tree found just to the left of the trail at exactly 2 miles. Its westward-facing location shows downtown Berkeley and—when the fog isn’t blanketing the coast—across the bay to the Marin Headlands and San Francisco. The final push to the peak is on a paved road; it’s a short, steep ascent. Vollmer Peak is marked by a giant radio tower, but make your way to a large Douglas fir tree on the east side and enjoy an unobstructed (and shaded!) view of Mount Diablo, clocking in at a hefty 3,849 feet.

Start this hike from the Inspiration Point parking lot (map) along Wildcat Canyon Rd. on the east side of Tilden Regional Park. From the start, take Curran Trail for 0.13 mile before making a left on Seaview Trail (shown on the map as East Bay Skyline Trail/Bay Area Ridge Trail). At 3.15 miles, cross the paved Seaview Rd. and turn right slightly downhill for the shortest route to the summit. This road actually curves around and up a short and steep hill before topping out at 3.4 miles. Dog-friendly!

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