Briones Regional Park covers more than 6,000 acres in the rolling East Bay hills between Berkeley and Walnut Creek. Hikers gravitating... more » to Tilden Park to the west and Mount Diablo to the east often overlook Briones, so you'll have plenty of time alone on the the trails.
There's a Goldilocks "just right" quality about hiking at Briones: Hills seem to top off just before your workout becomes a wear-out. The spring wildflower display is big enough to justify a visit from February to May, but not so spectacular that it attracts big crowds you might find at more popular parks. And it's only a few miles off Highway 24, the main route connecting Berkeley and Walnut Creek.
The hike below represents a small sampling of the trails available from Briones' five trailheads. The park is prettiest in mid-April -- when the grassy hills turn a shimmering green, with the wildflowers providing dollops of orange, yellow and purple -- but it's also worth a visit in autumn, when the hills are still golden but the summer heat is fading. Winter is bound to be muddy, but the views are amazing after rains wash smog from the skies. less «