I spent many a pleasant afternoon hiking the trails and hillsides of the East Bay when I lived in Alameda from 1983 to 1985. I also did a few of the Bay Area hikes for 100 Classic Hikes in Northern California, but my co-author and brother Marc Soares had the pleasure of doing the majority of them.
I’m still a big fan of Bay Area hiking trails, and especially the East Bay Regional Park District. The EBRPD will be officially opening its newest park on July 22, the Dublin Hills Regional Park, which straddles the Calaveras Ridge. Here are the details:
On July 22, 2010, the East Bay Regional Park District will open its newest park, Dublin Hills Regional Park in Dublin, CA. An evening dedication program begins at 5:30 p.m. with remarks by officials from the Park District, City of Dublin, and project developer Discovery Builders. A short guided hike will follow at 6:15 p.m. The dedication takes place at Donlan Point Staging Area on Dublin Boulevard, about two miles west of San Ramon Road in Dublin at the Schaefer Ranch housing development. The public is welcome to attend this event.
The 520-acre park is part of the Calaveras Ridge system that separates the East Bay communities from San Ramon Valley. At present the park includes a fully developed staging area with 23-car parking, equestrian parking, restrooms and drinking fountains, a 1.25-mile section of the Calaveras Ridge Regional Trail, and a 1.5-mile connection loop. Additional sections of the park will be open in the future.
“I’m so pleased to see this park open,” says Regional Parks Board Member, Ayn Wieskamp. “The City of Dublin now has its own regional open space park in the western hills that is close by and easy to access. Plus, we’ve planned some wonderful trail connections for the future.” Future plans include connecting to the City’s Martin Canyon Creek Trail and extending south toward Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.
A park highlight is Donlan Point, located at the southwest corner of the park, a half-mile walk from the parking lot. With a peak elevation of 1138’ above sea level, Donlan Point is an important regional landmark holding high scenic value among both trail users and neighboring residents.
The parkland is bounded by Interstate 580 to the south, Schaefer Ranch to the southwest, private grazing land to the north, northeast and northwest, and California Highlands on the southeast. The woodland slopes and shrublands have experienced relatively little change since first being settled for ranching and cattle grazing in the middle 1800s.
The Calaveras Ridge Regional Trail is a significant feature of the park as it adds another segment to this impressive regional trail system. This multi-use trail corridor travels along the I-680 corridor connecting six regional parks. It serves communities from Sunol Regional Wilderness, through Pleasanton Ridge to Dublin Hills into Contra Costa County, where it continues through Las Trampas Regional Wilderness to the City of Lafayette and through Briones Regional Park, with connections to Carquinez Strait. This trail offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay area to the west and Mt. Diablo and the central valley to the east along rolling ridgetops. When completed, the Calaveras Ridge Regional Trail will span 43 miles. The Dublin Hills segment brings the total mileage to 17.
As part of an agreement with the City of Dublin, the developer constructed the staging area and dedicated 67 acres of open space and trail easements.
Attend the event if you can. Otherwise go explore as soon as you have a few hours free.