Very Important Note: Please wear hiking shoes with very good tread as the downhill is sandy, rocky and slippery.
We will meet at the call box sign in the middle of the parking lot. A tip on finding the right entrance:
You want to go to the northwest entrance on 5874 Park St. When you turn onto Park Street, go past what looks like the obvious entrance (this path will take you to a ton of picnic tables and play areas for kids) and continue up the street to the Alvarado Staging Area. This entrance takes you to a parking lot and the Wildcat Creek trailhead
Wildcat Canyon, voted by KQED as one of three best dog hike venues in the SF Bay Area, is tucked behind scenic East Richmond Heights and San Pablo, and looks like it goes on forever. We will take the intersecting series of trails for a six- to eight-mile loop. Wildcat Creek Trail to Belgium Trail to San Pablo Ridge (and then onward) guarantees views that get better and better with each rolling hill until you see from the Bay Bridge to north of Mt. Tamalpais. After a chug up a pretty major incline, you’re rewarded with views north almost to Benicia.Dogs
Dogs are not permitted in the Tilden Nature Area. Dogs must be on leash at all times on the Nimitz Way, in all parking/staging areas, and in all developed areas. Dogs may be off leash in open space areas, provided they are under voice control. Anyone wishing to walk more than three dogs at a time must get a dog-walking permit from the Park District, and access is allowed to Wildcat Canyon only through the north end of the park from the staging area off Park Ave. and walkers may only use Wildcat Creek Trail for two miles extending south from that point. For more information. Visit our Dog information page.
The organizer, assistant organizers and event hosts in this group are not professional guides. The function of the organizer is only to organize the trip. each person who signs up for a trip/meetup/ or outing is responsible for his or her own safety and the safety of his or her guests. By signing up for a hike, or any other event organized by this group, you are acknowledging that you are aware and have made your guests aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with any outdoor activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the organizer, assistant organizers and event hosts of this Meetup group from and against any and all liability arising from your and your guest's participation in the group activities.
Wildcat Canyon Regional Park has 25 miles of trails and encompasses 2,427 acres along the Wildcat Creek watershed and the surrounding hills and ridges. It extends from the Berkeley Hills on the South to Richmond on the North. The dog-friendly trails are on the north end of the park.
Geology and Wildlife
Large coast live oaks, bay laurels, and a scattering of bigleaf maples and madrones grow on the park's east-facing slopes. North-facing hillsides support some beautiful, nearly pure stands of bay laurel, fringed with coast live oak. Moist chaparral of coyote brush, poison oak, elderberry, snowberry, bracken fern, and blackberry grow in thickets high on the north-facing slopes.
In the gorge of bedrock-cutting Wildcat Creek grows a riparian forest of alder, willow, creek dogwood, and bay laurel. The forest extends the length of Wildcat Creek and part way up the tributaries. The west- and south-facing canyon slopes are covered with introduced annual grasses (oat, rye, barley, etc.). A few stands of native bunch grasses persist. There are many native wildflower species.
Foxes, raccoons, skunks, and opossums range nightly through the canyon. Deer, ground squirrels, and voles forage more commonly by day. Gopher snakes, king snakes, and western racers inhabit the fields and meadows; garter snakes hunt the ponds and stream verges. In the forest are rubber boas and ringneck snakes. Aloft are redtail hawks, American kestrels, sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks, and turkey vultures. Most nights you can hear a great horned owl. There are also many varieties of songbirds. Remember: please take neither animal nor plant life, as all such resources are protected for the enjoyment of everyone.
The early history of Wildcat Canyon is similar to the history of all of California. Early Spanish exploration and ranchos displaced Native American communities that had existed for thousands of years. As the East Bay developed into a network of busy towns and cities, the canyon was primarily used as the region's water source, until the mid 1920s when the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) brought Mokelumne River water to the East Bay. In 1935 the East Bay Regional Park District acquired the southern part of Wildcat Canyon to create Tilden Regional Park. In 1952 the northern part was sold by EBMUD to private interests. In 1967 the Park District bought another 400 acres, and by 1976 the Park District owned enough land to form a 2,197-acre parkland. The park’s acreage now stands at 2,427.
Alvarado Park is located at the northern end of Wildcat Canyon, on the Richmond/El Sobrante border. This area was a private park beginning in 1909, with ferry boats and a trolley bringing families from East Bay towns, and even San Francisco. The original facilities at Alvarado Park included an open-air pavilion and dance hall (later converted to a popular roller rink). The park was taken over by the City of Richmond in 1923, and the stone masonry seen today was constructed during the City of Richmond’s ownership through various Depression-era work programs. The park was transferred to the East Bay Regional Park District in 1985 and is considered a unique variation on the National Park Service-style of “rustic park architecture.” While the original pavilion and dance floor are gone, what remains is the extensive stonework, including stone walls, stone light standards, and a beautiful stone arch bridge across Wildcat Creek. Because of its unique history and depression-era WPA stonework, Alvarado Park is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Alvarado Park has four reservable picnic sites, Bay (capacity 100), Acacia (capacity 35), Elderberry (capacity 50), and Alvarado (capacity 200). There are also eight first-come,first-served picnic sites. For more information or to reserve a site, call 1-888-EBPARKS or[masked], press option 2.
To confirm bus schedules, call AC Transit at 511 or[masked]; TDD/TTY: (800)[masked]; website: www.transit.511.org; ParaTransit: [masked]-5000.