Editor’s Note: We’ve revised this story to remove parks affected by the Marin, Sonoma and San Mateo County park closures. Last update March 25, 10:30 a.m.
Looking for new trails where you can maintain social distance? We’ve been working for years on the stories behind parks and trails around Northern California, and here are some of our favorites. As of March 19, all of these are currently open for hiking. Please of course follow your local health guidelines about social distancing and hand washing and be aware that facilities like restrooms and water fountains are currently closed in many parks.
All Around the Bay
The Bay Trail aspires to circumnavigate San Francisco Bay in one 500-mile-long, multiuse trail, and while it’s not complete, there are many long and varied stretches in all nine counties. Here’s an overview of some of the more recent additions.
From Candlestick Point to Lands End, the unmarked Crosstown Trail (there are maps) will take you through the nature of San Francisco.
South Bay / Peninsula
Through the heart of San José, following the Guadalupe River, wends 14-miles of multiuse trail toward the bayshore.
Russian Ridge is a 3,100-acre park known for its wildflowers, raptors, ancient oaks, and sweeping views off of Skyline Boulevard and Page Mill Road. Check here for updates.
More than 6,000 acres of salt ponds flank the Bay with flat and often wide trails at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. The bird watching is fantastic. Check with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for updates.
This story by writer Sylvia Linsteadt is beautiful read about the native sycamores growing in Sycamore Grove Park, with generous, flat trails just south of Livermore. For updates check the Livermore Area Recreation and Parks District.
The 32-mile Skyline Trail passes through six of the East Bay Hills parks, but can be jumped on at multiple points for shorter walks. Check the East Bay Regional Park District website for updates on facilities.