Berkeley hiking trails to tackle this summer

photo of people on a hiking trail
Madeleine Lorie/Staff

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Living in the Berkeley area comes with its fair share of perks, one of them being access to beautiful hiking trails and amazing weather. Personally speaking, I find that spending time outdoors and breaking a sweat is one of the most rejuvenating and stress-relieving activities you can do. As an avid hiker, I’m always in the mood for exploring new routes and the unique flora and fauna they have to offer. The Daily Clog previously published a list of five hiking trails you should explore in 2018, and I thought it deserved an update. Without further ado, here are a few of my previously not mentioned favorites! 

Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Distance: 7.4 miles

Just past the Strawberry Canyon Pool and before the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, the Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail is the perfect blend of flat dirt paths, gentle slopes and steeper hills to give your legs and glute muscles a challenging workout without too much strain. Much of the trail is shaded by oaks, redwoods and eucalyptus trees, so you don’t have to worry about getting sunburnt! Traversing the trail comes with stunning views of Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland, so be prepared to get your camera out to take pictures! 

Chaparral Peak via Stonewall-Panoramic 

Difficulty level: Hard

Distance: 4.4 miles

The Chaparral Peak via Stonewall-Panoramic Trail is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re a hiking buff with the stamina for major steepness, it’s totally worth it! The trail is located within the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve and can be accessed via the Clark Kerr Track. The trail is virtually all uphill and parts of it are loose and rocky, so I recommend wearing sturdy hiking boots or bringing trekking poles to ensure you don’t lose your balance and slip. Out of all the trails on the list, Chaparral Peak via Stonewall-Panoramic definitely offers the most breathtaking, sweeping panoramic Bay Area views and provides the best workout burn. Bonus points: You can usually see a flock of goats grazing along the hiking path as well! 

Jewel Lake Trail 

Difficulty level: Easy

Distance: 1.1 miles

If you’re not in the mood for an arduous hike and prefer something a little easier on the joints, then the trail at Jewel Lake is perfect for you! Located within the Tilden Regional Park, this adorable trail is short, flat and beautifully shaded by lusciously green overhanging brush. As you walk upon the mini bridges, you can’t help but feel a mystical air cloaking the trail. It feels as though you’ve just entered a storybook! Unfortunately, during the hot summer months the lake is virtually all dried up, but hopefully, it will be back to its hydrated state soon enough!  

Berkeley Marina Loop Trail 

Difficulty level: Easy

Distance: 4.8 miles

Another easy hiking option, the Berkeley Marina Loop Trail — located within the bounds of McLaughlin Eastshore Lake Park and Cesar Chavez Park — is a scenic yet completely flat trail offering waterfront views. With relatively no incline to it, the trail is the perfect path for runners or bikers who enjoy treading on flat terrain. Because of its proximity to the water, the breeze here is also quite strong and refreshing — a welcome treat after building a sweat. Strong wind also means many children flying their kites, adding to the jovial atmosphere. Though there is little tree cover and the vegetation during the summer months appears dull due to droughts, the trail is still worth checking out when you have the time! 

What are you waiting for? Time to take advantage of all that Berkeley has to offer and immerse yourself in the restorative fresh air of nature! Grab your running shoes or hiking boots and get to exploring the wide outdoors! 

Contact Madeleine Lorie at [email protected].