“Steep climbs to ridgetop views through shaded canyons on fire roads and narrow doubletrack.”
— Bob Gardner
A sampling of the less-crowded trails south of Inspiration Point and Wildcat Canyon Road with spectacular views of San Francisco Bay from a section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail
. Dropping down from the ridge, the fire roads narrow to doubletrack trails through shady redwoods with some trail sections overgrown to practically singletrack. This ride starts from Inspiration Point but alternate trailhead parking areas are shown.
From Inspiration Point parking area, head south on the Curran Trail
, which parallels Wildcat Canyon Road, as it descends steeply to the junction with the Seaview Trail
. Meadows Canyon Trail
will branch to the right and Seaview Trail
to the left. This short section of the Seaview Trail
is singletrack to Wildcat Canyon Road.
Cross the road to continue on the Seaview Trail
, which is a fire road at this point, climbing steadily to the junction with the Quarry Trail
. Continue on Seaview as it turns east past the junction with the Lower Big Springs Trail
. The trail climbs gradually and is shaded in the lower section but becomes steeper, rockier and more exposed as it approaches the ridgetop viewpoint. Some sections are very steep.
There's a rest bench at the high point with breathtaking views over the Bay. It's a short descent to the junction with the Upper Big Springs Trail which continues the descent over a rocky, rutted fire road all the way to South Park Drive.
Follow the paved South Park Drive southeast to the Elder picnic site and start of the Golf Course Trail
heading west. The Redwood Trail
branches to the left in about 0.3 mi. This is a shady doubletrack with a small redwood grove that ends at a parking area on paved Golf Course Road.
Turn right, north, on this road to the junction with Golf Course Trail
heading east to the Tower Trail, a short but rocky and steep connector trail, which joins the Gillespie Camp Trail
connector returning to South Park Drive. Directly across the road is the start of the Vollmer Peak Trail
, a fun doubletrack trail that narrows to singletrack in several sections.
A little further on South Park Drive, catch the start of the Quarry Trail
for the return to Inspiration Point. There's a junction part way with the Lower Big Springs Trail
which connects to the Seaview Trail
or continue on Quarry as in turns west then north (steeply) back to Seaview.
History & Background
Tilden Park was one of the original East Bay Regional Parks established in 1936. A favorite Bay Area weekend destination with its Lake Anza swimming hole, merry-go-round and steam trains.