Las Trampas: Bollinger Creek Loop Trail

Looking for a great trail to hike with young kids in San Ramon?  At under two miles, with a variety of scenery, this is one of my favorites spots in the region for a quick escape into nature! Photos taken February 19th, 2014 *** Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, San Ramon, California I’ve written about this one before… Hike: Bollinger Creerk Trail, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness Continue reading Las Trampas: Bollinger Creek Loop Trail

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Want to be Happier? Take a Walk in Nature

Within moments of beginning my walk around the grounds of the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley this morning, I began to experience that wonderful feeling of peace and calmness that washes over me me when I’m out in nature.  Whenever I begin to feel stressed, overwhelmed, quick to anger, or anxious, I’ve learned the best thing for me to do is head outside.  It doesn’t … Continue reading Want to be Happier? Take a Walk in Nature

Chaparral Loop Trail: Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

The Chaparral Loop Trail at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch is a great trail to hike with kids.  First, the trail starts at the Greathouse Visitor Center, which, alone would be a great destination for a family with kids.  The visitor center is located within the mountain!  After exploring the visitor center for a bit, head out onto the trail.  The trail is … Continue reading Chaparral Loop Trail: Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

Halloween Fun: Spooky Night Hike

Saturday evening, we went on a fun “spooky night hike” at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  My son was looking forward to this event more than to trick-or-treating on Halloween night! Before sundown, we met with our hike leader (a naturalist / pirate), who gave the kids some safety tips before heading out.  Then he led the families up into the hills. Along the … Continue reading Halloween Fun: Spooky Night Hike

Mono Lake: Panum Crater

Due to the government shutdown during our visit to Yosemite National Park last week, we decided to head over to Mono Lake and hike the rim of a volcano instead!  Panum Crater, located just off Highway 120 near the South Tufa Area of the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, is part of a chain of volcanic cones called the Mono-Inyo Craters.   These are considered to … Continue reading Mono Lake: Panum Crater

DVD Review: Tell It on the Mountain, Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail

I have to admit, I don’t watch TV.  And I haven’t seen many movies in the past several years.  I do, on occasion, watch PBS specials and documentaries.  I was thrilled, however, when I was offered the opportunity to review the documentary, Tell It on the Mountain:  Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail. I received the DVD in the mail several weeks ago, but only … Continue reading DVD Review: Tell It on the Mountain, Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail

Hike/Run/Bike: Bear Valley Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Earlier this week, we headed to Point Reyes National Seashore for an adventure on the Bear Valley Trail.  The trail from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to Arch Rock is just under nine miles.  Lush and green year-round, with the reward of gorgeous Pacific Ocean views at the end of the trail, this is one of my favorite trails in the entire San Francisco Bay … Continue reading Hike/Run/Bike: Bear Valley Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

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San Francisco East Bay: 10 Great Paved Trails for Stroller Walks, Runs and Kid Bike Rides

The San Francisco East Bay has an abundance of paved trails, all excellent for stroller walks, runs and bike rides with the kids.  Here are ten of my favorites! Nimitz Way, Inspiration Point, Tilden Regional Park:  This was a favorite of ours during our stroller-walking days.  The trail over rolling hills begins at the Inspiration Point parking lot, on Wildcat Canyon Road (between Orinda and … Continue reading San Francisco East Bay: 10 Great Paved Trails for Stroller Walks, Runs and Kid Bike Rides

Hike / Trail Run: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

In the coming months, I’m going to be trying out trail runs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of these trails will be great for both hikers and trail runners. My personal form of trail running is a combination of both (I prefer to hike the hills and run the flats, rollers and downhill sections). However, I’ve become bored with covering the same terrain … Continue reading Hike / Trail Run: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

Camping: Ben Ries Campground, Butano State Park

I’m frequently asked what my favorite campground is near the Bay Area.  My answer is always, “the one at Butano State Park, just outside of Pescadero, in the Santa Cruz Mountains”  We’ve been camping at Ben Ries Campground in the park every summer for several years now, and it’s become a family tradition.  The small campground, tucked away in the redwoods, is extremely popular with … Continue reading Camping: Ben Ries Campground, Butano State Park

Rock City: Mount Diablo State Park

Love this place!! Great for both kids and adults… huge sandstone rock formations to climb, small caves to explore, gorgeous views, fun hiking trails… what’s not to like?? You’ll find Rock City in Mount Diablo State Park, on South Gate Road, near the Live Oak Campground.  For more information about Mount Diablo, visit the website… Mount Diablo State Park. Photos from our visit, June 21st … Continue reading Rock City: Mount Diablo State Park

Hike: Lower Cathedral Lake, Yosemite

It’s official… my son has truly become a hiker!  While in Yosemite over the weekend, we decided to let our kindergartener choose which alpine lake we’d hike to… one that would require a three mile, a five-mile, or a seven-mile round-trip hike.  He excitedly exclaimed, “The seven mile one!”  We gave him a few chances to back out of his decision, but he was firm.  … Continue reading Hike: Lower Cathedral Lake, Yosemite

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Escape to me means being far, far away from other people, breathing in cool, crisp mountain air, hearing only the random screech of a hawk, inhaling the scent of pine, and taking in the high alpine views. We’ll soon be heading to the Sierras for our first escape of the season.  I absolutely cannot wait to be there…. *** Weekly Photo Challenge:  Escape Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Sibley: A Volcano, A Labyrinth, & Gorgeous Views

Did you know there’s a volcano right here in the San Francisco East Bay?  Yep, Round Top, a volcano so long extinct that it’s now lying on its side, is located in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the Berkeley Hills.  On Sunday, I enjoyed a fun Mother’s Day hike around the Round Top Loop Trail with my husband and son.  For being such a short … Continue reading Sibley: A Volcano, A Labyrinth, & Gorgeous Views

Llamas: Redwood Regional Park

Ever wanted to learn how to groom, feed, lead, and interact with llamas??  You can take a class through East Bay Regional Parks and take a walk through the redwoods. During our bike ride earlier this week (Kid Bike Ride:  Redwood Regional Park), the kids stopped to watch this, a line of people walking with llamas.  The children were enchanted. Interested in taking a hike … Continue reading Llamas: Redwood Regional Park