Tilden Park Quarry-Seaview Loop

5 Apr

Length: 3.8 miles
Time: 90 minutes
Difficulty: Medium
Dogs: Yes!
Calories: 600
Elevation Gain: 812 feet
Best Season: Winter and spring when the hills are green.  Pick a clear, sunny day when it’s 55-70 degrees.  Not much shade. Trail is a little rocky and won’t get too muddy.
EMBUD Permit Required:  No
Highlights:  The views from the Seaview Trail are some of the best in the Bay Area!
Directions:  Take San Pablo Dam Road northwest from Orinda.  Take a left on Wildcat Canyon Road.  Continue roughly three miles, past Inspiration Point, until you reach the Quarry Picnic Site (on the left).
Trailhead:  Look for the signs for the Quarry Trail.

With the stay-at-home orders in Contra Costa County I’ve had quite a bit more time to hike and write up hikes.  This is an ideal hike in the spring and has wide trails which allow social distancing.  But because of the wide trails you may also encounter a few mountain bikers.

Tilden Regional Park has been called the jewel of the Easy Bay Regional Park system and is one of the three oldest parks in the system.  The 2,079 acre park was purchased all the way back in 1936. In earlier days the land was occupied by Ohlone Indians, who were driven off the land as ranchers moved in.  Eucalyptus plantations within the park were planted around 1910 by the Eucalyptus, Mahogany, & Land Company.

To begin the hike, cross through the picnic area, and look for signs for Quarry Trail.  Stay to the right and you’ll begin a gradual climb through an open meadow.

Beginning of the Quarry Trail

After about 4/10th of a mile you’ll reach a four-way intersection with the Lower Big Springs Trail.  Stay right.  You could also take Lower Big Springs Trail in the same direction, but I haven’t gone that way yet.

As you cross the meadow you’ll notice blooming California poppies and lupine in the spring and plenty of coyote brush.  There are actually a huge list of wildflowers that can be found at Tilden. For a complete Tilden Wildflower Guide (21 pages) click here.

The trail also has patches of woodland, mostly Monterey pines.

One of the little patches of woodland on the Quarry Trail

After about 1.2 miles of hiking you’ll reach the Big Springs parking area on South Park Road.  Look for the Lower Big Springs Trail heading up the hill in the same direction.  In the winter months (Nov-March), you won’t see any cars on South Park Drive because it’s closed to protect the migration process for Newts. Otherwise they are in great danger of getting run over.

You’ll climb about 2/3rds of a mile up Lower Big Springs Trail, until the trail curves sharply to the left and connects to the Seaview Trail.  Just stay left and you’ll make sure to end up heading North.

For a little over a mile you’ll be on the amazing Seaview Trail, which is also the 380 mile Bay Area Ridge Trail and the East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail. Enjoy some of the best views in the Bay Area looking out towards San Francisco and the Golden Gate to the West, and San Pablo & Briones Reservoirs to the East, with Mt. Diablo in the background.

First view spot and bench on the Seaview Trail, with San Francisco in the distance.

As you traverse along the Seaview Trail you’ll come across a few view spots with benches and even a picnic table and small labyrinth. What a spot for a picnic lunch or watching the sunset!  The highpoint on the trail is about 1630 feet.

View area with labyrinth and picnic table, with Mt. Tamalpais in the distance.

The Seaview Trail runs atop the San Pablo Ridge, a small mountain range that runs from Pinole to Orinda.

Seaview Trail – heading north

After a bit you’ll start descending.  You’ll pass an intersection with the Lower Big Springs Trail (left side).  Continue straight and then at the next intersection make sure to stay left to take a connector trail back down to the Quarry Picnic Site.

Map of the Quarry-Seaview Loop

 

Tilden Park map..

 

 

2 Responses to “Tilden Park Quarry-Seaview Loop”

  1. cisaacs4ucf April 5, 2020 at 6:47 pm #

    This is a great one! Stay well…

  2. Geoffrey Bellenger April 5, 2020 at 7:07 pm #

    Steve Thanks, Geoff

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