East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail

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Wildcat Canyon Regional Park

East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail is a 32.9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Richmond, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length32.9 miElevation gain5,725 ftRoute typePoint to point
HikingNature tripsBird watchingForestViewsWildflowers
Description
Waypoints (0)

This is a National Recreation Trail.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (24)
Photos (56)
Recordings (22)
Completed (70)
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Margo Smith
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Hiking
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Tyler Chuck
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HikingGreat!

After hiking this in many sections, I finally decided to hike the whole thing in one day. This trail did not disappoint. Since it’s the winter and the days are short, I started early in the dark at 4:30am. Finished in just over 12 hours at 5pm. Was a great decision to start early to see the sunrise over Mount Diablo. It’s so cool to see how all the trails are connected. Packing is super important for this hike, especially because of COVID. None of the water fountains were on when I tried to use them and there weren’t any places to filter water. I brought 4 liters and was okay, but you might want a little more. Bathrooms are also somewhat scarce. I remember them at Inspiration Point, the Steam Tunnels, Sibley, Skyline Gate, Chabot Family Campground, and at the Golf Course at the end. Make sure to also pack a lunch as you’ll want to eat, probably multiple times. One of my favorite aspects of the trail this time was all the benches along it. When you’re tried, they’re super nice to sit on and stretch your legs. Also helps that they’re often situated with a great view. Started from El Cerrito deal Norte Bart and took Castro Valley Bart back. Was a good addition, but made the trek even longer. Was worth it to not get dropped off somewhere in the morning. A bucket list hike for any Bay Area hiking enthusiast!

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Tyler Chuck
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Hiking

Done this trail in many chunks. Really epic journey across many East Bay Regional Parks. Excellent views of the Bay throughout. Would be a long day hike, but doable if you start early and can find a way to get back to the start.

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Fernando Ortiz
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HikingGreat!MuddyOff trail
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angie g
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HikingBugs
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angie g
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HikingBugsOff trail
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Nathan Tsang
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Hiking

I did this route in full but in reverse order - Starting at in Castro Valley, and ended up at the Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. I got dropped off at the roadside of the Redwood Road at 9 am in the morning and got picked up at the Alvarado staging area at 8 pm in the evening. It was easy to follow the downloaded AllTrails map. My AllTrails recording shows distance was 33.3 miles with 5,427 elevation gain, moving time was 11 hours and the average pace was 19:48. The weather was sunny and the temperature in the high 70s'; there was no water refill on the trail due to COVID-19 lockdown. Luckily I was going from south to north: With most exposures trails are in the south and done in the cooler morning, while north part of the route was more heavily wooded, toward the end it was even misty and cool. I carried 4 liters water was able to make it to the end without any trouble. What I like this hike is some part of it is just steps away from urban areas, you could pop out and get help if there was any trouble along the way. Trails near Anthony Chabot Regional Park are part of bike loop so watch out the mountain bikers going downhill. Also some of the trails near Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and Tilden Regional Park require you to carry the EBMUD trail use permit. Overall I like the trail, and I found this is one of the most unique and rewarding trail experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Eliza Thornton
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Hiking

I hiked a segment of this trail over 2 days - starting at Skyline Gate and going north 11 miles to Inspiration Point the first day and then going south about 12 miles the second day. There are many other trails, side trails, and branches in the network of parks that this trail goes through. About 80-90% of the time the Skyline trail is clearly marked with a disk on a wooden post. However sometimes the post is missing, the disk is missing, or the post twisted in the ground so that you can't really tell which way the arrow was supposed to be pointing. So thanks to Alltrails I was easily able to see which way to go at those intersections! The hiking was absolutely beautiful. The section north of skyline gate was a lot of steep up and down through deep redwood forests with streams and gullies. The trail eventually followed the ridge. I could tell that on a clear day you could probably have some amazing views of San Francisco. It was misty and cool when I hiked - like hiking through a cloud. It made the landscape even more beautiful. Even though it was the middle of July I was glad I brought a fleece. There were nice toilets in the parks at the trailheads every 3-5 miles. Tilden park has a cute little steam train with lots of families lined up for a ride, and the toilets there were particularly nice, with water fountains. On the second day, hiking south from Skyline Gate, the trail went by a science center / observatory. The trail went through deep redwood forests, then came out into a long open stretch. It was sunnier and clear, and quite hot. I was glad I had a hat! Then the trail wove up into some amazing eucalyptus groves. This was my favorite part of the hike - they smelled so good and the trunks made weird moaning sounds rubbing against eachother in the wind. I have verizon and I had at least 1 bar for almost all the way - there were some sections in gullies where there was no service, but you could just keep hiking for another 20 mins or so and get a bit higher and get service back. I ended each day of hiking at an intersection with a road and was easily able to get an Uber back to my car. There were plenty of other people out hiking, mountain biking, or running along the trails, particularly around the trailheads.

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Matt R
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Hiking
First to Review

8/13/20 Update: Can't believe it's been almost 2 years since I did this hike for my 40th birthday. Also, happy to see that some others have done the full hike since that time. I just wanted to share that someone I follow on another app just completed this 33.5 mile trail in 4 hours 12 minutes as the FKT (fastest known time). There's a website that supports these endurance challenges. So for all you trail runners out there, that's the bar as of today. Original 2018 Review: This hike will take you through six parks along the ridge of the east bay. When you reach Redwood Regional Park, the Skyline Trail splits - you can stay on West Ridge Trail or take the French & Orchard Trails instead. If you go French Trail, it will add about 2 miles and some elevation, but it’s much more scenic. So if you only want to hike 30 miles, then stay on West Ridge Trail. If you want to do a little extra, take French. Also, before you reach Vollmer Peak, you will need to exit the Seaview Trail and follow the markers to take Arroyo and Vollmer Peak Trails to the parking lot. I have it mapped out correctly as it’s not clear from the trail map on ebparks.org. https://www.relive.cc/view/1775112034 http://ebparks.org/parks/trails/east_bay_skyline_national_trail.htm

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Hillside Hiker
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Hiking
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C B
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Hiking
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Gonzalo Cibils
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Hiking
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Salvador Coronado
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Hiking
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Lorely Martinez
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Hiking
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angie g
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Hiking
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Nathan Tsang
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Nathan Tsang
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Justin Brown
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Hiking
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Justin Brown
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Hiking
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Joanna Redmond
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Backpacking
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Jason Standley
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Hiking
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Alex Wilkerson
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Cydne Mo
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Max Khusid
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Hiking
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