Today’s first hike is close to home for me and is one of my favorite places to hike! You will probably hear (read) me say that a lot, because there is just so much to love about Northern California hikes! Tolay Lake Regional Park is super convenient for us as it’s pretty local to where we live, but I would come here from anywhere in the greater Bay Area. I remember years ago – it was a wonderful ranch that had an annual Fall Festival, which they still do a variation of.
It has a great view from the top of my favorite trail – the park is 3,400 acres in total. The Lake is seasonal, so you might not see it depending on when you come, but it is a natural small lake that develops in the valley between two hills. Our favorite hike is about 5 miles up and back to the Three Bridges Vista point – from the top, on a clear day, you can see the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, the Bay Bridge and the Napa River Bridge. The view is simply spectacular!
The trail crosses open cattle range land (watch your step!) and I love seeing the mamas and the babies together and so close to the trail.
In the spring, the wildflowers are amazing. During the rainy season, the creeks are running, which are simply beautiful. Come prepared during the rainy season though, the ground is Adobe clay, and is very muddy and sticky. There are several other hikes that you can take. The shorter Pond Trail, and the longer Ridge trail among them. The Ridge trail is great, but is open grassland and has no shade at all, so remember to bring lots of water and a hat and lots of sunscreen!
There are bathrooms (serviceable) and picnic tables near the parking lot for a lunch after your hike.
Pros: Easy access, beautiful in all seasons, cows, great views, variety of hike options, bathroom and picnic tables available.
Cons: In hot weather, there isn’t much shade, In rainy weather, it can be very muddy.
Thanks so much for reading along! Won’t you join me on the path?