The Bay Area Ridge Trail bobs and weaves through neighborhoods, past schools and beneath freeways on its 2.6-mile journey south from Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area through Don Castro Regional Recreation Area to Five Canyons Parkway. The trail subsequently rises into the rolling hills above Hayward at Five Canyons Open Space and Garin Regional Park, crossing a golf course before ending abruptly seven miles later high on a ridge. The ensuing three-mile downhill serpentine on unaffiliated trails to the park entrance in Hayward includes nice views of San Francisco Bay and an optional scary steep final descent.
We are hiking the 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail. Sign up to follow our progress here.
TRAIL MAPS (date hiked)
- Cull Canyon to Five Canyons Parkway and Don Castro Regional (October 23, 2021)
- Don Castro and Five Canyons Parkway to Garin Regional Park (Nov. 6, 2021)
Garin Regional Park (Nov. 6, 2021)
After a long and dry California summer, the first rains of fall and subsequent greening of the parched hills always make us happy. And the winding trail along the ridgelines at Garin Regional Park was the perfect immersion therapy.
We deliberately chose a cool and cloudy day for this 10-miler, our first Ridge Trail hike of significance in the East Bay since the summer heat drove us west to the relative cool of trail segments closer to the coast. It was almost too cool as we ate our lunch near a radio tower after a challenging and sweaty climb out of the hike’s sole canyon back to the ridge.
As we approached trail’s end, we made the mistake of taking a short cut to the parking area (hikers only, no cyclists) rather than yet another lengthy meander. The final slope was treacherous, rivaling even the infamous fire-road grades we navigated in the Pinole Valley.
We recommend taking the long way around.
Cull Canyon to Five Canyons Parkway (Oct. 23, 2021)
Not every hike on the Ridge Trail is memorable. To be fair, attitude is a factor. We never viewed the segment from Cull Canyon to Five Canyons as more than a connection through suburbia between more appealing trails. It was a hike to be completed rather than enjoyed. We drove over one morning, walked the five-mile round trip and checked it off the list. Your experience may vary.
Miles we hiked0
(with returns and connectors)
Our Progress Hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail – 173.2 out of 400 miles44%