Take Shady Glen Trail out of the visitor center lot, cross the small bridge over Alameda Creek (Alameda County’s largest stream), and link up to Flag Hill Trail. You’ll quickly climb out of the woods as you gain elevation. At the top, you’ll enjoy fabulous views across the valley, reservoir, and watershed. Look out for sandstone formations with fossils of life from ancient seabeds and maybe even spot a bobcat or two. To impress a date, follow up the outdoor frolic with an afternoon of wine tasting at Elliston Vineyards, then take a romantic ride on the Niles Canyon Railway. Serious mojo.
5. Skyline Gate Loop
Distance: Five miles
Trailhead: Skyline Gate Staging Area, Redwood Regional Park
Reason No. 5,487 we love California: redwood trees in our backyard. From Skyline Gate, walk the exposed East Ridge Trail until you hook right down into the park’s valley on Prince Trail. The temperatures dip coming off the ridge, and you’ll notice the immediate change in vegetation. Descending Prince Trail, hook left on Stream Trail. (From November to February, be on the lookout for wintering ladybugs who take up camp in clusters by the millions right near this trail intersection… whoa.) Take a minute to appreciate the calm and quiet among the massive redwoods. Follow Stream Trail until taking a right on Fern Trail. Get your heart rate up as you climb out of the valley on Fern Trail. When you hit West Ridge, take a right, and follow it all the way back to Skyline Gate, enjoying/Insta-ing the gorgeous views along the way.