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Quarry Trail and Big Springs Trail

A loop traversing open grassy ridges and forested pathways in Tilden Regional Park
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 3.5 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview :  The trail that loops from Quarry trailhead in Tilden Regional Park traverses open grassy ridges and forested pathways in the East Bay ... more »

Tips:  This trail loop can be made during all seasons in the mild northern California climate. Winters can be cool, wet and muddy on the... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Quarry Trailhead and Elevation Profile

The Quarry trailhead parking lot has space for about 10-20 vehicles, and includes a small grassy picnic area. It is located near a bend in Wildcat Canyon Road in Tilden Park as you arrive from the west on the road towards Inspiration Point.

The Elevation Profile image attached shows this trail's elevation changes in feet over the course of this... More

2. Big Springs Trail bay view

From the Quarry picnic area parking lot, begin the trail on the right side of the picnic area. At the first junction, continue onto Quarry Trail, bearing right along a gentle uphill slope.

Continue up through the grassy hillside along Quarry Trail, to a four way junction with Big Springs Trail.  

Here you traverse onto Big Springs... More

3. Scenic contrast on Big Springs Trail

Re-enter Big Springs Trail through a fire road trail heading upward at the other side of this parking area.

Now your climb steepens, winding its way through trees and open views nearing the ridge top. Looking back down the trail, a few deep green trees and bushes stand out boldly against the dry Fall grasses at a twist in the trail.

Just around... More

4. Reaching the Seaview Trail junction

At last, after climbing the final few bends, you reach the Seaview ridgeline trail. Prepare for the unveiling of the upcoming grand views!

At the Seaview Trail, bear left as you begin heading north again. This POI is at the junction where Big Springs trail (heading down on the right) meets with Seaview trail.
The trail will now begin... More

5. First wide open view of San Pablo Dam Reservoir

The initial views over the ridge to the east start shortly after entering the Seaview trail. Much of the ridge is wide open, so the vistas come easily.

A long expanse of San Pablo Dam Reservoir is one of the first of many such unfolding scenes, at this POI. Afternoon shadows creep over the foreground, as the lowering sunlight brings a rich... More

6. San Francisco view

While the east side of the Seaview ridge harbors shadows and pastels of the setting sun, the west side displays the intense hues from the coming sunset itself.

Having traveled roughly a third of a mile further along the trail, you now see San Francisco appear westward in the distance, framed by the Tilden Park woodlands near a picnic stop.

... More

7. View before descending from Seaview ridge

Again a short distance later, a bend down the trail brings another view to the east. This provides a different glimpse of San Pablo Dam Reservoir, a fine spot for a pause, in the further reddening tones of the late afternoon.

8. Two reservoirs in sight to the east

The trail travels now in a generally downward trend, as you've passed the ridgetop apex and continue back towards the starting point.

As the peak sunset colors approach, the trail continues with its stunning viewscapes. This POI captures a full view of the two main reservoirs on the eastern side (Briones and San Pablo Dam).  

9. Tequila sunset over the Golden Gate

Continue now down past intermittent forest cover, still high enough along the ridge for views but only as the clearings permit.

Not a bad trail at all, when you have a clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Angel Islands, and Marin County beyond! Capped off in a tequila hued sunset, captured at this viewpoint.

Continue on the... More