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An Oakland trail to set your sites on

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Joaquin Miller Park: Lush forest, tons of fun, fresh air, a space for the intermediate hiker or biker

Take a trip to Joaquin Miller Park in the Oakland hills for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life and venture down one of the many trails of the 500-acre park.

Joaquin Miller is a great place to hike, bring your dog and also bicycle for an exhilarating and technical mountain bike ride through the sometimes narrow passages. “I love bringing my boys (dogs) here to walk around. I love the tall trees here, its very beautiful,” said hiker Nancy Walker.

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Joaquin Miller Park has a panoramic view of redwood trees.

Tall Redwood trees and Oak groves make the area very relaxing and beautiful to the eyes. Ferns and over 200 other species of plants are abundant in the lush creek sides and meadows that scatter throughout the area of the park, according to the Joaquin Miller Park website. Also, many different types of animals scurry about through the green wilderness, such as lizards, snakes, deer and an occasional grey fox if you get lucky to see one.

These trails will surely give you a great workout as there are a lot of uphill climbs throughout the park, but like Sir Isaac Newton reasoned, what goes up must come down, so there are also many steep downhill experiences. So if this one of your first times biking on a trail, I DO NOT suggest these trails for you as these trails are meant for intermediate and experienced bikers only. A bike with good shocks on it would be a great help as the trails can get pretty bumpy with rocks and tree roots sometimes sticking out of the ground.

If you take the Big Trees trail, as I did, you’ll find the name of the trail is pretty self explanatory; incredible Redwood trees surround you as you make your trek. It reminded me much of the tall redwood forests of Northern California where I used to camp as a boy, which was very refreshing. From there I merged onto the also aptly named Bayview trail, which feathers great scenic views of the Bay Area overlooking Oakland, viewing all the way to San Francisco.

For a great workout, fun and enjoyment, great views of the bay and also an experience through a thriving wildlife area, the Joaquin Miller Park is the place for you to go.

For more information about the park go to www.oaklandnet.com/joaquinmillerpark and for a direct map of the park for you hikers and bikers go to http://www.oaklandnet. com/joaquinmillerpark/map.html

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Unpaved trails are shaded by the trees.

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Lake Chabot is not a hike for the weary


Hiking is not only a healthy activity but an opportunity to experience the serene of local surroundings.

Lake Chabot's west shore in Castro Valley. Sean Jones/ Staff Photo

Lake Chabot is a man-made lake with many different trails for different skill levels. The trail that primarily follows the lake is about 9 miles long, which is not a small venture.

If you have 4 hours to spare it is well worth the effort.

Starting out on the East Shore you will be surrounded by many families and people walking dogs, but once you reach the 2 mile marker the trail will go from paved to dirt and the crowds will dissipate.

It can easily be said that the East shore is the easy side with balanced slopes, though there is one hill around 3.5 miles. When you reach this hill, it will determine whether or not you continue.

After that large hill you will be confronted by one more steep path and then you will be in the rolling hills being directed away from the lake.

If you make it past some of these more extreme hills you will be in for a great adventure.

Turtles and cranes in the marsh and the rustling of squirrels and small birds in the brush. You may even cross the path of a snake.

Once you reach the damn you are at the home stretch. On the west shore, fatigue may be setting in but also a sense of accomplishment is felt.

This walk/ hike is not for the unprepared, it is recommended that you bring a lot of water and a granola bar to keep yourself energized.

Also, you should not hike alone, since there is a lot of wildlife and spurs from the trail where others can join in and one moment you think your alone and suddenly someone is passing you.

To find out more about Lake Chabot and all it has to offer go to www.ebparks.org/parks/lake_chabot

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