East Bay Hills, CA: Northern California Chapter, Tilden Park Hike

Sep 16, 2023 9:30AM—2:30PM


Meet us in the parking lot of the Quarry picnic site in Tilden Park on Wildcat Canyon Road, PDT

Event Contact Laurie Ferris | Email


Camino de Steam Trains! Indulge your inner 4-year-old on Tilden Park’s iconic steam trains! But first, you’re gonna have to earn it. By walking there. (And that will be swell, too.)

From the Quarry picnic site in the park, we’ll cut up on the Quarry Trail to the Seaview Trail, which we’ll follow along the ridge with nice views over to San Francisco and Mt. Diablo. After circling mighty Vollmer Peak, we’ll come down for a longish lunch break so we can ride on the greatest railroad this side of the Orient Express. You do not want to miss this experience! (And unlike Oakland’s Fairyland, you don’t need to be accompanied by a child). $4 per ride.

After our lunch and train ride, we’ll descend, mostly through the woods, along the Vollmer Peak Trail, eventually meeting up with the Quarry Trail to take us back to the picnic site.

Schedule: Meet us at 9:30 AM in the parking lot of the Quarry picnic site in Tilden Park on Wildcat Canyon Road — about 3/4 mile east of the junction with South Park Drive and 1/2 mile west of the Inspiration Point parking lot. The walk part of our excursion should take about 3 hours, but since the lunch break may be longer than usual, we expect to arrive back at the picnic site by 2:30 PM. Please plan on arriving at the parking lot early since this is a very popular trail on weekends. If the lot is full, park along the road. There is another lot about 1/4 mile back west towards Berkeley.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate. Some challenging segments, mostly in the beginning where there are some steep uphills. Distance is a little less than 6 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,100 feet, but the walk is mostly on broad fire roads. Please have recent and comparable hiking experience.

Advance online registration is required. Click the Register button to sign up. Please register if/when you are certain you can attend. Thank you!

Cancellation: If you are unable to attend, please email us as soon as possible at norcal@americanpilgrims.org so we can update our list.

Getting There (by car only)

From west of the hills (Berkeley, Oakland, SF), make your way up to Grizzly Park Boulevard.

  • If you arrive at Grizzly Peak via Claremont Canyon Road or from points south, head north on Grizzly Peak and turn right on South Park Drive (just north of the steam trains). At its end where it intersects Wildcat Canyon Road, turn right. The Quarry Picnic site parking lot is about 3/4 mile further on the right.
  • If you go up Centennial Drive (above the UC campus) to Grizzly Peak, keep going to the top and continue down along Golf Course Drive. Turn right on Shasta. At the bottom will be Wildcat Canyon. Turn right and continue to the parking lot.
  • If you head up Marin Avenue or streets to the north, turn right on Grizzly Peak, left on Shasta, right at the bottom on Wildcat Canyon, and continue to the parking lot.

If you’re coming from Contra Costa County and points east, Wildcat Canyon Road is closed east of Inspiration Point due to a winter landslide. It is not possible to get to the park from Camino Pablo in Orinda. (Be aware that map apps may still route this way.) Instead, from Hwy 24 West, take the Fish Ranch Road exit (last before before the tunnel) and take a right up into the hills. Take a right on Grizzly Peak, then another right on South Park (just past the steam trains). At the end, turn right on Wildcat Canyon. The parking lot is 3/4 mile further on the right.

Carpooling: Registered participants will have access to an online “Carpool Bulletin Board” to post a message if they need a ride or can give one.

What to Bring: A day pack with water, snacks, and a bag lunch. Sun protection (hat, sunscreen) and a jacket or sweater in case it’s foggy. Good hiking shoes are recommended and hiking poles may be helpful on steeper sections. There are bathrooms at the trailhead and bathrooms and water by the steam trains.

Leader: Andy Cohn

The Ruff Stuff: For insurance purposes, we are unable to welcome dogs, except service animals, at our events.