Tilden: Seaview-Vollmer-Arroyo-Lower Big Springs-Quarry Trail Hike

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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*One of the District’s three oldest parks, Tilden has been called the jewel of the system, and its recreational activities have become a happy tradition for generations of East Bay youngsters. From a carousel ride and a picnic to a swim at Lake Anza and a stroll through the Botanic Garden, Tilden has variety to delight everyone. Yet there are plenty of quiet places in Tilden’s 2,079 acres to shelter the wildlife and preserve natural beauty. Tilden was named for Charles Lee Tilden, first president of the Park District Board of Directors. The park is reached via Canon Drive, Shasta Road, or South Park Drive, all off Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley.

*There are 39.41 miles of trails in Tilden Park, through many different kinds of terrain.  The larger multi-use trails allow hikers, bicyclers, and horses, some are for hikers and horses only, and the smaller single-track trails are for hikers only.

This hike climbs up through the conifer woodland and eucalyptus forest to the hilltop meadows on the Seaview Trail. Enjoy the magnificent panoramic ridge top views of SF Bay, San Pablo and Briones Reservoirs and beyond! Drop down on the Arroyo Trail along Wildcat Creek for the return along Lower Big Springs and Quarry Trails.

Begin this hike from Nimitz Gate at Inspiration Point in Berkeley.

Go beyond the gate onto the Curran Trail; the trail gently descend towards the canyon.

At Seaview Trail junction-go left onto Seaview; the trail climbs up through the eucalyptus trees onto Wildcat Canyon Rd.

Cross Wildcat Canyon to stay on Seaview; the trail climbs up towards the eucalyptus stands to an open clearing at Quarry Trail junction.

Stay on Seaview Trail; the trail continues to gently ascend the ridge with views of the bay.

At Lower Big Springs Trail junction-go straight to stay on Seaview; the trail climbs up to the first high point along San Pablo Ridge.

Enjoy the stunning SF Bay views!

Seaview continues on rocky rolling terrain through the conifer woodland to the next high point.

Take in the gorgeous hilltop views to the west-Golden Gate Bridge and to the east-San Pablo Reservoir and Briones Reservoir!

The trail continues on through the woodlands to another high point along the ridge.

The ridge top vistas are amazing-you can see the three bridges; the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge-WOW!


Seaview winds up along the ridge to an open picnic area at an old stone foundation and labyrinth with tables and benches.

Enjoy the views!

Stay on Seaview; the trail continues along the ridge with phenomenal views of Mt Diablo and the reservoirs!

The trail drops down from the ridge and tilts back up for a gentle climb towards Vollmer Peak. Enjoy the views!

Seaview Trail continues on pavement to its highest point along the ridge at around 1834 feet.

Enjoy the magnificent views of the surrounding valley, hills and mountains!

The trail drops down through the woodland towards the Steam Trains area.

Lunch stop at the Steam Trains parking lot-a good place to take shelter from the brisk winds.

Retrace steps back towards Seaview Trail gate.

Veer left through the parking lot to Vollmer Peak Trail followed by another right at the next junction. The trail travels west as it goes in and out of the woodlands on a single track with open views of the bay.

At Skyline Ridge/Vollmer Peak Trail split-turn right followed by another right at the Lupine Trail junction. The trail leads back towards the ridge at Seaview Trail.

Mile 3.8 at the “Trail closed to horses” sign-turn left onto the unsigned Arroyo Trail; it winds down alongside the ridge through the chaparral covered slopes.

The Arroyo Trail continues to descend on a single track as it drops into the eucalyptus grove; watch your footing-there is plenty of loose dirt and fallen tree leaves!

The trail drops down steeply as follows along the curvatures of a seasonal creek leading out towards Arroyo Picnic Area at South Park Dr.

Turn right onto South Park Dr and follow the paved road to the trail gate at Lower Big Springs/Quarry Trail.

Continue on Lower Big Springs Trail; the trail begins with a steep rocky climb out of the canyon towards the eucalyptus grove. It can be easy to lose your footing on the loose rock and gravel-use caution!

The trail continues west on rolling rocky terrain with open views of SF Bay!

At the Quarry Trail junction-go left onto Quarry Trail; the somewhat level trail cuts across the hillside with views of the surrounding parkland.

Quarry Trail drops down to the Quarry Picnic Area off Wildcat Canyon Rd.

Turn right onto Wildcat Canyon and follow the road back to Inspiration Point.

This fabulous scenic hike takes you up along San Pablo Ridge with phenomenal views of the Bay, San Francisco, the three bridges, Mt Diablo, San Pablo and Briones reservoirs and the surrounding hills and valleys! You can even do this hike on a weekend and schedule a ride on the scaled down steam trains at Redwood Valley Railway-you would love it!

6.6 Miles with 1528′ of elevation gain
Time: 3 hours with a stop
Hike: Moderate
Parking: No fee at Inspiration Point on Wildcat Canyon in Berkeley
Pit toilets available inside gate on Nimitz Way-NO WATER
Dog friendly-off leash trails
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks-Facilities & water available at Steam Trains area

Weather: Cool with cloudy overcast skies. Temps ranged from the low to mid 60’s with SW winds.


View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Tilden 2

Print Trail Map



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