Address: 6899 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA OR 37°51'22.8"N 122°12'24.8"W (of of Fish Ranch Road in Orinda) Parking: Free parking available at the address above Hours: Nov-Feb: 7 A.M. to 6 P.M., March-Oct: 7 A.M. to 10 P.M. Type: Hike (moderate) Regulations: Dogs allowed off-leash if under voice control Best time to visit: Cool days, as trails can get hot in summer and there is little shade. Trails are lush and beautiful in winter.
Description: One of the best features of this park is that you can hike around a volcano! Although it's inactive, it's still a fun hike to tell your friends about. The main trail from the parking lot begins on a paved trail, and splits off to the left through a cattle gate into the hillside. It has beautiful views of the canyon and eroded rock walls lining some of the trails. There are also multiple rock labyrinths you can walk down into and explore. One was created by a local artist in 1989, but no one knows how the others appeared. You may miss one in winter, as it turns into a pond. You can also hike down to another large pond, or all the way to Wildcat Canyon or Anthony Chabot Regional Park. The loop around the volcano is the Round Top Loop Trail.
From the parking lot, if you take the main paved trail and then the split off on the dirt trail to the right, you can hike up to the volcano via the Round Top Loop trail. This circles the volcano, which is 1,763 ft above sea level. There is another split on this dirt trail, and if you take the trail to the right down into the valley, it leads to a beautiful shaded hike. This is my favorite trail, and it's the Bay Area Ridge Trail, but is labeled the "East Bay Skyline Trail." This trail leads down into Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve (which is not dog friendly), but you and your dog are allowed to take this trail down into Huckleberry to just pass through. The trail leading down is a must-see. It is lush and green in winter, and often lined with colorful fungi.
Most of the trails in the park are moderate, but you can make the hike as challenging as you wish by hiking into Wildcat Canyon or Chabot and back.
This park has clean restrooms, picnic tables, running water and faucets to fill your dog's bowl.