…Or, how to find lesser-known trails to avoid getting or passing on COVID-19.
Most of the time, people end up going to trails with MORE amenities and the following trails/places get left out. However, in this time of social distancing, you might want to know where you can go and be away from people but get your kids out to run around. Read on, families, for some far-from-the-madding-crowd trails….
A few cautions: These trails are not likely to have bathrooms. (Less virus on random surfaces!) That means you should encourage everyone to go #2 before you leave home and teach everyone (including yourself) to pee in the woods. Do not leave toilet paper anywhere- you do not need it for #1. Yes, your undies might get a tiny bit damp but you’ll keep your hands much cleaner. If you have a small person with unreliable bathroom habits (you know, all of them), do watch this video and bring a tiny shovel (although I’ve dug a hole with my shoe), TP and hand sanitizer. These trails are also all East Bay focused– I’ll follow up with some other ideas soon!
One of the best places to find beautiful spots without people is EBMUD land. You need a permit (buy here) but then you can visit all the different places. Pinole Valley Watershed is one of our favorites, or San Leandro Reservoir. We have no write up, but Briones Reservoir (not to be confused with Briones Regional Park, which is across the street) is gorgeous– park at the Overlook Staging Area (map here) and take the Oursan trail. (No dogs on EBMUD land.)
East Bay Regional Parks- secret treasures!
We’ve written about the joy of Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve here, but other less-visited EBRPD locales include Briones Regional Park, Wildcat Canyon Regional Park (park at the staging area and skip the requests for the play structure) Black Diamond Mines (avoid the Visitor’s Center if you are trying to distance yourself from other humans), Pleasanton Ridge, Crockett Hills, Garin (head out from the picnic area and it gets deserted fast), Leona Canyon (Oakland!), Sunol and Morgan Territory. (Look up the names we haven’t reviewed yet on the EBRPD website.) (Dog friendly!)
John Muir Land Trust
This collection of properties is a little out of the way for your central Bay-Area people, but Fernandez Ranch is beautiful, and Carr Ranch (you do need an EBMUD permit) is closer to Oakland (Lamorinda) and quite unpopulated. This above picture was actually taken at Sky Ranch, which was lovely and devoid of people but full of ticks. (Dog friendly.)
That’s our first round-up of misanthropic delights! If you see us on any of these trails, wave from a distance! Wash your hands but keep up your outdoor adventures! Yay sunshine and exercise!
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