We will be starting from the public steps between 1540 and 1560 Madera Circle in El Cerrito, and take a botanical stroll downhill from the Madera Open Space and then across the road and downhill to the main site for the El Cerrito Hillside Festival at Schmidt Lane. I am leading this beginner-level plant walk as a joint field trip with the Hillside Festival, so your fellow hikers may know more than I do of the human history of the Hillside Natural Area.
In addition to a search for an Oakland star tulip (Calochortus umbellatus) population, we will also scope out remnant coastal prairie forbs in a mostly Eurasian grassland. Further downhill, we walk through the oak woodland and riparian plant communities, where we can find giant vetch (Vicia gigantea) and arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis) growing alongside escaped exotic species.
If you don't mind scrolling through past Meetups, I posted my plant list for this walk on May 17, 2014. Let me know if you have trouble finding it, but it should still be there.
The Hillside Festival will run through the weekend of May 3-5, and has a lot of other walks on other topics. If you're interested, then you can view the event schedule at http://ectrailtrekkers.wordpress.com/events/.
If you're driving, you can put 1540 Madera Circle into Google maps to get a complete set of directions. It may help to look for Madera Elementary School, which is the only large public structure near the Madera steps.
Mass Transit Directions: At the El Cerrito del Norte BART station, go to the bus stands and catch AC Transit bus #7 going uphill towards Arlington Ave. Get off at Arlington and Madera and walk downhill past Madera Elementary to the Madera steps. If you don't see me, just go to the bottom of the steps.