Gemma Shabel, a Berkeley High School senior, has been hiking at Tilden since she was little and has always loved it. “There are so many different options for types of hikes and scenery and wherever you choose, it is inevitably going to be beautiful! The surroundings are so green during spring, and during the rest of the year it’s very densely populated with plants and trees and there is lots of cool wildlife to see. It’s a significantly large space too,” she said.
Ajmal Khan, a senior at BHS, also recommends a trail in Tilden called the Loop Road Trail. “I love Tilden and I go there almost every other night because I just like being in the woods and like taking a little stroll around Tilden whenever I can,” he said.
“It’s a little camping site right above a little farm,” Khan said. He explained how one travels down a hill from the site to the farm, then takes a right to go up toward a lake. “When you take a right, you travel by half a block and you take another left and you just travel a little more into the parking lot. And then you just go on a hike from there.”
Khan also mentioned that there’s a camping area where there are tables for people to have a barbecue. “Go on a little night hike. It’s just quiet and peaceful and as you walk there when you start walking to the trail, it’s not that windy, but it’s pretty windy. If you go deep into the trail, there’s a little bench there that you can just sit down and chill on. And if you keep walking it’s just … a little mountain-ish trail,” he said.
Doris Balabanian, a Berkeley resident, doesn’t believe there is a best place to hike in Berkeley, but recommends a group called Berkeley Path Wanderers. “This group organizes walks throughout Berkeley on its stairs and paths, and these walks can vary in pace and intensity, sometimes veering into hike territory,” she said.
She also recommends Tilden Park, which has many trails and is a wonderful place to hike. “Another good spot for strenuous exercise is Claremont Canyon, which can be accessed in a number of ways, from behind the Claremont Hotel, the top of Dwight Way, and several others,” said Balabanian. “Strawberry Canyon can be accessed off Centennial Road in two places, the bottom near the Cal stadium, and the top near Grizzly Peak. The trail that winds from top to bottom is named Jordan Trail, Upper and Lower.”
The Bay Area is full of trails to hike, and whether you’re a beginner or advanced trail hiker, there are many places to enjoy a hike. “All you have to do is decide what kind of terrain you want to experience, and there is a park that has that. For instance, Tilden is a close-up park, no great big airy expanses with lots of eucalyptus and other tree cover,” said Balabian. “Morgan Territory, on the other hand, is wide open, not many trees, but wide open spaces, grinding, rocks, and oak trees. When you explore them, each park brings up different feelings and is satisfying in different ways. We are so fortunate in this area to have an embarrassment of riches in our regional parks.”