Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve,
East Bay Regional Park District,

Contra Costa County
In brief:
1.7 mile loop through woods and manzanita barrens, with lots of interesting vegetation. Hosts a Bay Area Ridge Trail segment.

Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 1.7 mile loop hike is easy. Trailhead elevation is about 1265 feet, the trail dips down to about 940 feet, then climbs back to the trailhead. Total elevation change is about 500 feet.

Exposure:
Mostly shaded.

Trail traffic:
Light.

Trail surfaces:
Dirt trails.

Hiking time:
1 hour.

Season:
Nice year round. Maybe best in late summer when you can enjoy the shaded trails and sample huckleberries.

Getting there:
• From CA 24 in Alameda County, exit Claremont (exit 3). Drive about 1.5 miles northeast on Claremont Avenue to the intersection with Ashby. Continue straight through the light on Claremont Avenue (Claremont Boulevard veers left), then bear right. You should see the Claremont Hotel on the right, as well as a brown "parks" sign for Tilden and Sibley Parks. Continue on Claremont about 2 miles to the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Turn right and drive about 2.4 miles to the intersection with Skyline Boulevard. Turn left onto Skyline. Drive about 0.5 mile, and turn left into the preserve parking lot.
• From CA 24 in Alameda County, exit CA 13 south (exit 5). After about 3 miles, exit at Lincoln/Joaquin Miller (exit 2). At the foot of the exit ramp, make a left, then take the next left, and then go straight onto Joaquin Miller. Drive uphill about 1 mile, then turn left onto Skyline (there's a brown parks sign before the turn, and a traffic light). Drive about 4.7 miles (past the Chabot Space Center and Redwood Park trailhead), then turn right into the parking lot.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
http://transitandtrails.org/trailheads/253
   
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Latitude 3750'33.62"N
Longitude
12211'42.30"W
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, pay phone, stores, and restaurants back along Claremont near College or Ashby. No camping.

Trailhead details:
No entrance or parking fees. Parking for 12 cars in a dirt lot. Pit toilet on site. Preserve map and self-guided nature path map available at information signboard. No drinking water or designated handicapped parking (trails are not suitable to wheelchairs anyway).

Rules:
All but one trail are hiking only. Skyline National Recreation Trail is designated hiking and horses only. No dogs on Huckleberry trails. Preserve is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Official Story:
EBRPD's Huckleberry page.
EBRPD headquarters 510-562-PARK

Map/book choices:
This hike is described and mapped in 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: San Francisco, by Jane Huber (yup, that's me, the creator of this website). Order this book from Amazon.com.
Map from EBRPD.
Afoot and Afield: San Francisco Bay Area, by David Weintraub (order this book from Amazon.com) has a great map and descriptions of a Huckleberry hike.
East Bay Trails, by David Weintraub, has a good map and descriptions of a Huckleberry hike (order this book from Amazon.com).
The Bay Area Ridge Trail, by Jean Rusmore(order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and descriptions of Huckleberry's segment of the Ridge Trail.
East Bay Out, by Malcolm Margolin, has a nice preserve description (order this book from Amazon.com).

View 47 photos from the featured hike



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Sometimes I wish every park or preserve district in the bay area had a botanic preserve like Huckleberry.Trailhead It's an oasis, and an educational one at that. When many of the bay area preserves are unbearably hot, Huckleberry is cool and shaded. With so many plants in various stages of bloom and fruiting, if you love plants, it's definitely worth scheduling at least two trips to Huckleberry a year. In the late winter you won't want to miss pink-flowering currants, in the spring there are wildflowers and new leaves on the deciduous trees, in summer thimbleberries abound, and in late summer and early fall there are few places better to admire the huckleberries (see the page edibles for some photos of huckleberries and other berries).Loop Trail splits
        Be sure to pick up the pamphlet "Huckleberry Self-Guided Nature Path," from the information signboard. Seventeen numbered signs along the Huckleberry Path identify plants and plant communities.
     Start on the trail to the right of the information signboard, hiking-only Huckleberry Path. A few steps down the narrow trail, at a signed junction, the trail splits. Bear left and descend along some switchbacks. Soon you'll come across the first identified plant, a pacific madrone. An evergreen tree canopy will shade you almost completely, breaking only now and then for views to the northeast of Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. At about 0.4 mile, at a signed junction, head uphill to the right, remaining on Huckleberry Path. (The trail to the left connects to Sibley.)Huckleberry Path
      During some gentle climbing you will pass a variety of ferns, as well as toyon, gooseberry, creambush, currant, huckleberry, California hazelnut, and California bay. Just before you reach the mile mark, at a signed junction Huckleberry Path shoots sharply uphill to the right. (If you want to extend your hike, continue left at this junction on the Skyline Trail for 0.4 mile, then turn right onto the Huckleberry Path for 0.35 mile to rejoin the loop. You won't miss any of the plant identification signs by extending the loop). For this hike, take Huckleberry Path to the right at the junction and ascend some steps on the only moderate portion of the hike.
        At the signed junction and a crest, turn right (still on Huckleberry Path) and then look for a small signed trail to the right. Walk down the path a few steps out to an open, exposed manzanita barren. Manzanitas and view of Mount DiabloThese shrubs bloom in the winter, putting forth bell-shaped white flowers as early as December. A large chinquapin, with some distinctive spiny burs drawing attention to itself in summer, holds court among the manzanitas. Near the edge of the belvedere, a bench makes for a nice rest stop. Retrace your steps and continue, to the right, along the Huckleberry Path
      The remaining portion of trail is very narrow and nearly flat, with tall shrubs (lots of huckleberry) towering over the path on both sides, blocking almost all of the views. Monkeyflower makes a cheerful showing, with orange blossoms persisting well into summer. The next three plant identification signs are down another narrow trail to the right (look for a small sign pointing the way to numbers 8-10). More manzanitas hunker down against the ground in a clearing with a great view of Mount Diablo. Return back to the main path and continue to the west (right). Huckleberry Path
      Lots more huckleberry bushes crowd the trail here, as well as some more unusual plants such as silktassel, pallid manzanita, and a few more chinquapin. After the last identified plant, pink-flowered currant, the trail meets up again at a previously encountered junction with the other end of the loop trail. Coast live oaks and California bays provide most of the shade through here. Continue straight to the parking lot. On the way back, look for a large display of creambush on the left side of the trail.

Total distance: 1.7 miles
Last hiked :  Saturday, September 15, 2012




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