With its combination of rugged hills, redwood and oak forests, and proximity to ocean beaches, the Bay Area is unparalleled in its hiking opportunities among U.S. urban areas, and the Hiking Section of the Bay Chapter will guide you to all portions of this domain.
Our hikes range from wild areas, such as the Mount Tamalpais watershed, Mount Diablo, or the San Mateo County open spaces to urban settings in San Francisco or Oakland. The hikes range from a few miles with minimal terrain to strenuous treks with a few thousand feet of elevation gain—with most hikes in between, in the 2B to 3C range (for an explanation of these hike ratings, see Chapter Calendar or the box on page A of every Yodeler). Hiking is a fine way to meet people, discuss current events, find common interests—and develop friendships. Our hikes also offer a great introduction for more extended car-camping and backpacking trips.
In Marin our hikes crisscross the great mass of wildlands included in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Muir Woods National Monument, the Marin Municipal Water District watershed lands, Samuel Taylor State Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore. In the East Bay, the East Bay Regional Park District, the East Bay Municipal Utility District watershed lands, and Mount Diablo State Park form the nucleus of another vast trail network. Hike leaders often combine forested slopes with seashore or open hills to create varied day-long journeys. Some leaders will simply guide you on the trails, while others may provide detailed commentaries on the history and/or the natural history the area.
Several hike leaders specialize in city excursions combining a variety of neighborhood settings with accounts of local history and architecture. An example would be a hike beginning at the San Francisco Ferry Building, roaming the downtown to find hundred-year-old buildings, climbing a few hills to explore secret neighborhoods, and concluding at the Golden Gate Bridge to look upon the city enclosed by a windswept Bay. Whether these hikes take place in San Francisco, Hayward, Alameda, or Corte Madera, the goal is to find the unique identity of a community.
Our section also includes an intrepid group of canine-hike leaders. Currently these hikes usually occur in the East Bay. Naturally, we must obey all local regulations, but the rewards are manifold. (Dogs are not allowed on our regular hikes, however, unless specifically mentioned in the write-up.)
The Hiking Section offers participants the chance to grow from being listeners and followers on a hike to being speakers and leaders. As we become familiar with our nearby open spaces, we gain knowledge to advocate for them and for the quality of our local environment. Thus, the Sierra Club encourages the advance of one’s leadership abilities into a role of promoting environmental causes.
See listings for our hikes in the Chapter calendar in every Yodeler or at http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/chapter/events/calendar.aspx.
John Hermansky, chair, Hiking Section