Bay Nature

Thanksgiving Week Outdoor Trips for the Bay Area

November 24, 2021

With a holiday week, abundant sunshine in the forecast, and a continuing viral pandemic that thrives on indoor air, it’s the perfect time to get outside and explore the Bay Area. From the Bay Nature archives, here are some suggestions for parks to try with your family, friends, or on your own this week:

Redwood Parks That Aren’t Muir Woods

Those “Muir Woods Parking Full” signs will be flashing by dawn on Friday. Instead, try one of these less-heralded but still glorious Bay Area redwood parks.

Accessible East Bay Parks

Make sure the entire family can enjoy the outdoors and explore one of the accessible parks in the East Bay Regional Park District, from Delta birding to the sandstone outcroppings of Castle Rock. 

Helen Putnam Regional Park in Petaluma

It’s a season of high activity in the oak woodlands, as acorns drop and woodpeckers prepare for winter. See it all on the winding trails through Helen Putnam, just outside of Petaluma.

Ancient Oaks on the Peninsula

Escape the crowds and the sunshine by diving into the shade of  moss-covered, 300-year-old oak trees at Russian Ridge. The trail wends through flowering meadows and offers spectacular ocean vistas. 

San Francisco’s Crosstown Trail

No need to worry about throngs of people when you’re hiking in the city. Explore San Francisco’s seemingly endless scenic twists, turns, and staircases by taking on part of the 17-mile Crosstown Trail. 

Rancho Corral de Tierra in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Burn off the calories from a big meal by hiking up into remote Rancho Corral de Tierra, where rare flowers bloom and you can take in the expansive ocean views from high above the coast.

Tolay Lake Regional Park

In the Alaguali tradition, this lake was a place of healing. As the seasonal freshwater lake waits for more rain, you can visit the largest Sonoma County Regional Park this season to find space and time for reflection. 

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