Nimitz Way,
Tilden Regional Park,
East Bay Regional Park District,
Contra Costa County
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This easy 3.7 mile hike on paved Nimitz Way hosts walkers from very young to very old, and every age in between.

Mostly exposed.

Trail traffic:

Trail surfaces:
Dirt trail and paved fire road.

Hiking time:
1 1/2 hours.

Nice all year, best in spring or autumn.

Getting there:
From Interstate 580 in Alameda County, exit CA 24 (exit 19b). Drive northeast and exit Claremont (exit 3). At the foot of the exit ramp, turn left, and drive about 1.5 miles on Claremont to the junction with Ashby. Continue straight on Claremont, to the junction with Grizzly Peak Boulevard, about 2 miles. Turn left and drive north about 1.4 miles to the junction with South Park Drive. Turn right and drive about 1.5 miles to the junction with Wildcat Canyon Road. Turn right and drive about 1.2 mile, to the Inspiration Point Trailhead on the left side of the road. Note: South Park Drive is closed during the salamander migration season, approximately October-April. If it's closed, continue on Grizzly Peak, turn right on Shasta, then turn right on Wildcat Canyon Road.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:

GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Latitude 37°54'18.18"N
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, restaurants, and stores are plentiful around Claremont and College. Tilden has group and equestrian campsites only -- no individual sites. The nearest campground is in Anthony Chabot Park.

Trailhead details:
No parking or entrance fees. Forty parking spots in a paved lot, with 2 designated handicapped parking spaces. Nimitz Way is suitable to wheelchairs. Maps available at the information kiosk. Portable toilets just inside the Nimitz Gate. There's a water fountain at the junction lower end of Meadows Canyon Trail. Public transit website.

Park is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Some trails are multi-use, others are open to hikers and horses only, and the trails in the nature area are hiking only. Dogs are permitted in Tilden, but not in the nature area (they are allowed on this hike).

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

Map 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
Map from EBRPD (Tilden north)
Lower Tilden (Nature Area) map (pdf)
A Rambler's Guide to the Trails of the East Bay Hills: Northern Section, published by The Olmsted & Bros. Map Co., is very good, particularly if you're interested in seeing how all the east bay parks along San Pablo Ridge string together (order this map from
The Bay Area Ridge Trail, by Jean Rusmore (order this book from has a good map and descriptions of Tilden's segment of the Ridge Trail.

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Tilden Regional Park is a recreation paradise in the backyard of East Bay communities Berkeley and Kensington. In addition to miles of trails that connect to adjacent parks, enabling long rambles, Tilden provides exceptional opportunities for family fun, with a merry-go-round, swimming lake, pony rides, steam trains, and picnic areas that can be reserved. trailhead
     Countless future hikers have been introduced to the great outdoors at Tilden, often on an easy out-and-back excursion on Nimitz Way. Either strapped to a parent’s chest or snuggled in a stroller, baby’s first hike is one that the entire family can enjoy, with excellent facilities, a paved trail with only gentle elevation changes, plenty of rest benches along the way, and wonderful views of the East Bay and beyond.
     Walk from the parking lot toward the Nimitz Gate. A gated trail on the right leads to East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) property and is accessible only by advance permit. Once through (or around) Nimitz Gate, begin hiking on paved Nimitz Way. This trail runs north for 3.5 miles to a peak in Wildcat Canyon Park, but if you’re hiking with a dog and/or a child in a stroller, you’ll likely want to turn back before entering cattle-grazed Wildcat Canyon. The broad multiuse trail enters weedy grassland downslope from the ridgeline to the right. Some pines tower overhead, but along the trail you might notice cardoon, a relative to the artichoke plant, with similar leafy vegetation and big buds that unfold to reveal pretty, thistly flowers. Expect good birding here year-round; the most commonly spotted birds include scrub jays darting from tree to tree, and vultures and redtail hawks perched on power lines. To get glimpses of local or migratory songbirds, you’ll likely need a good pair of binoculars. The trail undulates gently past clusters of poison oak and young coast live oak. On the left side of the trail, views unfold across the Berkeley flats to the bay, Mount Tamalpais, and San Francisco. The first of many benches along the route appears. Spring flowers include blue-eyed grass, mule ear sunflowers, checkerbloom, and yellow bush lupine, but tangles of blackberry, coyote brush, and poison oak choke out most of the grassland (and flowers) in this stretch. High-tension power lines run along the trail for a while. Around the 1-mile mark, the trail descends noticeably, then levels out again. Look for shrubby willows on the right, partly screening a seasonal boggy pond. At 1.3 miles, a trail departs on the left, heading downhill toward Tilden Nature Area, where no dogs are allowed. Continue straight on Nimitz Way. Nimitz Way
      The trail is lined with coyote brush, poison oak, diminutive coast live oak, and California bay. In summer, great clusters of sweet peas and cow parsnip draw bees and butterflies. Nimitz Way enters a eucalyptus grove where on a spring hike I saw several pipevine swallowtail butterflies fluttering through the aromatic woods. At 1.7 miles, there’s a junction with a trail to Wildcat Peak on the left. This out-and-back path makes a good addition to this hike if you’re hiking without a stroller. Continue a bit farther on Nimitz Way, out of the woods to a cattle guard and boundary with Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. Nimitz Way continues north, but this is the turnaround point for this hike. Enjoy views east, across the hills of Briones Regional Park, all the way to Mount Diablo, then retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Total distance: 3.7 miles
Last visit: May 1, 2006