Best places to mountain bike in Berkeley


The Bay Area is an excellent location for mountain biking, and mountain bikers at Berkeley High School enjoy the wide variety of mountain biking trails and areas that Berkeley and the surrounding area has to offer. 

Juliet Distefano, a sophomore on the BHS mountain biking team, enjoys the flowy trails and beautiful redwoods of Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. Only a 20 minute drive from Berkeley, it is a popular location for BHS mountain bikers. “Most of the trails are really covered and sheltered by redwoods. … There’s some trails that are more rocky and have some technical features, but there’s ways to get around them,” said Distefano, “I think it’s a very versatile place for everyone to go, no matter how long you’ve been mountain biking for.”

Of the many trails in Joaquin Miller Park, Kalu Caldas, a junior on the BHS mountain biking team, chose Chaparral Trail as her favorite. A challenging, technical trail, Chaparral is well known within the park. “It’s part of what people call the ‘Three C’s’ in Joaquin Miller which are Chaparral, Cinderella, and Castle Park (trails),” said Caldas. 

For Caldas, the trail stands out for its difficulty and technical features. “Chaparral is quite a bit of fun because it’s long enough and hard enough that it really pushes your skill set. … It’s probably one of the hardest trails that you can get to that’s legal within the East Bay,” said Caldas. Despite its difficulty, the trail can be repeated multiple times in one session making it ideal for practicing specific features. “It’s quite technical. There’s a lot of rocks that you have to deal with (and) there’s a couple of sections that get steep and you have to really deal with keeping your balance and keeping your control of both tires without sliding too much. … After that, you can sort of rip real fast down the rest of it,” said Caldas.

Another popular biking location is Tilden Park in Orinda. Boone Givens, a sophomore on the BHS mountain biking team enjoys biking in the Vollmer Peak area in South Tilden. “It’s super pretty … (There are panoramic) views of the bay and it’s not too hot. All the trails kind of stem from there so you can go anywhere you want,” said Givens. “There’s a couple of fire roads and then there’s five or six single track trails that go from there. Sometimes it’s dusty, but a lot of the time it’s pretty grippy dirt and (it has) a good amount of tree cover.” 

The ideal conditions and variety of trails make it a frequent destination for the mountain biking team. For Givens, the area holds a special significance as the place he first learned to mountain bike. 

From Joaquin Miller Park to Tilden Park, BHS mountain bikers enjoy biking on many of the different trails that the Bay Area has to offer.