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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 31, 2012

Best Bay Area Wildflower Hikes

Updated and Expanded April 2013

Where is the best place to do a wildflower hike in the Bay Area? Here is a list of lists for favorite wildflower hikes including: Bay Area Hiker, Two-Heel Drive, Marin Trails, Trail Center, Every Trail and my own favorites.  I have also included a link to a Bay Area Wildflower article in Sunset Magazine.

There is no one website that posts all of what is in bloom in the Bay Area.  A good way to find current information is to contact the individual parks directly.   The local California Native Plant Society sites are another possible source of information. I post wildflower bloom updates,  my own wildflower explorations and am glad to post other people’s findings so submissions are encouraged. You can find these at Wildflower Bloom Reports

Here are the best wildflower destinations by region and parks. The East Bay hills and Point Reyes are tops by far:

Best Bay Area Wildflower Hikes by Tom Stienstra at SF Gate

East Bay hills

  • Sunol: Sunol Loop to Cerro Este, 4.75-mile round trip, at Sunol Regional Wilderness, near Sunol.
  • Tilden: Seaview Trail at Tilden Regional Park, 1.5-mile round trip, in Berkeley hills (Wildcat Canyon Road access).
  • Chabot: Grass Valley Loop from Bort Meadow, 2.8-mile round trip, at Chabot Regional Park near Castro Valley.
  • Briones: Briones Crest Loop, 5.6 miles, at Briones Regional Park near Pleasant Hill.
  • Black Diamond: Jim’s Place Loop, 6 miles, at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve near Antioch.
  • Mount Diablo: Mitchell Canyon Loop, 8.1 miles, Mount Diablo State Park, near Clayton.
  • Morgan: Volvon Loop to Bob Walker Ridge, 5.7 miles, Morgan Territory north of Livermore.

Contacts: East Bay Regional Park District, (888) 327-2757, ebparks.org (maps, brochures, park phone extensions).

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes has 18 percent of the flowering plant species found in California, believed by rangers to be more than anywhere else in the state. At Chimney Rock at peak, 90 blooms were counted in one-mile stretch.

  • Chimney: Chimney Rock Headlands, 2.8-mile round trip.
  • Limantour: Beach parking area, with option of hike into Muddy Hollow.
  • Burn area: Woodward Trail (above Coast Camp) in area of ’95 wildfire, 7.5-mile round trip.
  • Sky: Sky Trail from Limantour Road Trailhead to Sky Camp, 2.6 miles round trip.
  • Abbotts: Abbotts Lagoon, 3.2-mile round trip.
  • Palomarin: Coastal Trail out of Palomarin Trailhead near Bolinas north to Bass Lake, 5-mile round trip.

Contact: Point Reyes National Seashore, (415) 464-5100, www.nps.gov/pore.

Bay Area Hiker List of favorite wildflower hikes: http://www.bahiker.com/extras/best.html
North Bay:

East Bay:

Peninsula and South Bay:

Two-Heel Drive, Hiking Blog: http://www.tommangan.net/twoheeldrive/index.php/2008/02/09/wildflowers-best-bay-area-locales/

Marin Trails: Top 7 Wildflower Areas in Marin County

  1. Chimney Rock at Point Reyes The best displays run from March to May
  2. Ring Mountain on the Tiburon Peninsula Great variety and abundance of flowers from late March to June.
  3. Coastal Trail at the Marin Headlands The Coastal trail, from Conzelman Rd to Bunker Rd offers great wildflowers in March and April
  4. Benstein Trail on Mt. Tamalpais Benstein trail from the Rock Spring area late March or April.
  5. Abbotts Lagoon and Kehoe Beach at Point Reyes Both of these areas offer abundance and variety of flowers, especially in April
  6. Baltimore Canyon in Larkspur Trillium, in March.
  7. Pumpkin Ridge near the lakes on Mt. Tamalpais best display of iris

Trail Center: San Francisco Bay Area Wildflowers Hikes

By Tim Oren http://www.trailcenter.org/newsletter/2000/spring2000/spring2000-01.htm

Every Trail’s List of Best Bay Area Wildflower Hikes
http://www.everytrail.com/guide/bay-area-wildflower-hikes

Mount Tamalpais State Park

  • Matt Davis Trail
  • Steep Ravine Trail

Point Reyes National Seashore

  • Coast Trail from Palomarin trailhead near Bolinas
  • Tomales Point Trail — so popular because of its tule elk herd

Sunol Regional Wilderness

  • Sunol’s annual Wildflower Festival, usually scheduled in early April,
  • Indian Joe Creek trail
  • Canyon View trail
  • Flag Hill trail

Mount Diablo State Park

  • Mitchell Canyon
  • the hike in from the Regency gate in the town of Clayton

Midpeninsula Open Space District

  • Long Ridge
  • Russian Ridge
  • Skyline Ridge
  • Monte Bello Open Space

Henry Coe State Park

  • Any of the park’s entrances — Dunne Avenue, Hunting Hollow, Dowdy Ranch — will do. Just keep in mind Coe trails can be very strenuous, so make sure you have plenty of water and snacks.
Calero County Park
  • Chisnantuk Peak Trail

Sandy’s Personal Favorites:

  • Steep Ravine on Mt. Tamalpais in early spring
  • Abbott’s Lagoon and Chimney Rock at Pt. Reyes
  • Falls Trail at Mt. Diablo

Bay Nature Magazine (See full article with more details at: Bay Area wildflowers Bay Nature)

  • San Bruno Mountain, San Bruno
  • Edgewood Preserve, Redwood City
  • Henry Coe State Park, Morgan Hill
  • Chimney Rock, Pt. Reyes
  • Coastal Trail, Marin Headlands
  • Sycamore Grove, Livermore


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Responses

  1. Great web site and lots of info.

  2. [...] Best Bay Area Wildflower Hikes (naturalhistorywanderings.com) [...]

  3. Hi I cannot find your link to the Sunset Magazine Article on best Bay Area Wildflower Hikes

    • I checked the link and Sunset magazine has apparently removed the article and I have removed the link from my post as well.

      Sandy


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