Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Where to Be Merry: Connecting with Nature @ The Sequoia Bayview Trail (Oakland)

The Merriment: 2.8 miles of trails in a thick forest that comprises redwoods and oak trees, all within Joaquin Miller Park

The Location: Oakland

The Vibes: Outdoorsy, nature, rejuvenating, adventurous

Good for: Alone, dates, groups (small and large), all ages

When-To-Go: There doesn’t seem to be any posted open / close times, so my recommendation—use your discretion

The $$ Factor: FREE

The 4-1-1: In addition to trails, the park also has multiple picnic areas, an amphitheater and even a horse arena

Parking Situation: I’ve parked along Skyline Blvd. to get to the entrance to the Sequoia-Bayview trail; parking here is free and alongside the road

I’ll Be Back…: To try some of the other connecting trails, including Chapparal, Big Trees and Cinderella!

Since moving to the Bay, I’ve never walked this much in my entire life!

No matter if it’s for work, exercise or simply for fun, it seems like I simply have to use my two legs... all. the. time. I sprint power walk to work and find myself taking laps around Lake Merritt as a great stress reducer. And recently, thanks to a dear friend who took me here, I’ve been trekking on the Sequoia Bayview Trail.

Located high above in the mountains, this 2.8 mile trail is a windy path with dozens of additional trail offshoots. It's nestled in the massive Joaquin Miller Park, amongst a forest comprising centuries-old redwoods and oaks, and other foliage. You can choose-your-own-adventure in the sense that you can make your time here as easy or as hard as you want it to be. There are literally families taking leisurely strolls together, solo sprinters and joggers, pet owners walking with their dogs and cyclists of every level whizzing by. Some routes are pretty flat, while others are more strenuous, where you’ll really have to watch your step and may even have to climb over a few rocks. 

What I love about this well-kept trail is that it’s relatively close enough — only about a 20-minute drive from downtown Oakland on the scenic (and hilly!) 13 highway — to feel like you’re escaping the grind of the city, and transported into a woodland oasis. So much greenery envelopes you at every twist and turn! Inhale the fresh, earthy smells. Feel the soft brown dirt crunch beneath your shoes. Relax in the relative quietness and sounds of the forest — sounds like chirping birds and rustling leaves. 

There are also incredible views. It’s hard to tell from this picture below, but you can definitely steal breath-taking glimpses of the San Francisco skyline and the Bay.

Plus, there’s so much to see inside of the forest, too, like this cute little bridge, pictured below. And I even saw a doe! (OK, so it was only for like a millisecond. She came out of nowhere. We looked at each other and startled, we both completely freaked TF out. She dashed away and with my heart pounding loud for enough everyone to hear it, in that moment, I realized that I prefer to keep my nature sightings to creatures under 10 pounds). 

Depending on when you go, in addition to bumping into wildlife, you may (or may not) run into people, too. One packed weekend morning, I saw other visitors about every five minutes, while one Sunday closer towards the evening, I hardly ran into anyone.

All in all, the Sequoia Bay Trail is a very easy way to escape into nature for a few hours without having to worry about the time commitment or physical exertion that other outdoor activities like intense hiking and camping typically require.

So the next time you’re looking to de-stress and reconnect with nature, consider heading out to the Sequoia Bay Trail. If you’re in the East Bay, it’s not too hard to get to, and the time spent there will leave you feeling rejuvenated.

See you there soon!

- This May be obvious, but make sure to pack water...and maybe even snacks!
- Think in layers. It’s pleasantly cool underneath the shade of the tree canopy, but the minute you step out onto bare trail, it feels like the sun is baking you alive.
- Snap a photo of the map at the entrance (
pictured to the right) to help guide you along the way. I also like to take shots of the sign posts I pass, so I don't get lost. You can also find an electronic version of the map here.
- You share the (narrow) trail path with cyclists, too. Some, who unfortunately come zipping out of nowhere with no warning signals whatsoever. Be on the lookout so you don’t get ran over! 

For more information: 


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