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Bay Area: Paths Less Traveled

Hiking, Cycling, Nature Trails, and City Walks

San Francisco may be famous for its thriving city streets, but some of the most cherished paths in the Bay Area are ones not paved with asphalt. Throughout the region, people of all persuasions seek out paths less traveled for hiking, cycling, nature treks or even exploring neighborhoods and history. Here are a few to discover in Santa Clara, Walnut Creek and Alameda.

Ulistic Natural Area

As one of the only reserved natural open spaces in Silicon Valley, Ulistic Natural Area spreads across a dedicated spot in Santa Clara and is open to anyone on every day of the week. This is your chance to safely embrace nature on jogging and cycling trails or to go birdwatching in a major migratory flyway zone. Bring along your camera for capturing images of butterflies, birds, lizards and jackrabbits in natural habitats. The 40-acre reserve includes banks along the Guadalupe River where you can picnic or cycle on the river trail.

Mt. Diablo State Park

It’s hard to miss the towering Mt. Diablo regardless of where you live in the Bay Area. It may seem intimidating to climb the mountain or hike its somewhat arduous trails – but there are lots of ways to enjoy Diablo’s pathways to nature. You’ll find plenty of scenic trails winding around the gentle foothills with views of wildflowers, waterfalls, and hilly green meadows.

Mt. Diablo State Park provides entry points at Walnut Creek, Danville and Black Hawk, where you can choose which paths to take. While some opt for climbing or mountain biking to the 3,849-foot summit, many people drive to the observation deck area and then take short trails to see rock formations and wildlife. You can also saddle up and traverse one of the more remote equestrian trails. Before leaving, be sure to stop by the visitor’s center and stand on the exposed patch of land that puts you literally on the top of the mountain.

Alameda Walks

Within the extremes of mountain trails and busy urban streets, there’s a happy medium in places like Alameda. Walking trails are a simple way to get some fresh air and exercise while making new friends and learning about the island. On first and second Saturdays from May through October, you can join a walking group for one-hour explorations of the shoreline, parks, wildlife and historical buildings. The August 10 walk starts at Jean Sweeney Open Space Park and continues to Marina Park Village, while the September 7 excursion is led by naturalist Michael Charnofsky and follows Shoreline Drive. There’s no need to pre-register; just show up with your walking shoes and look for the Alameda Walks red hats.

Whether exploring nature or relaxing at home, living in one of our Bay Area apartment communities put you in the center of it all. Call today to hear about move-in specials and availability.