Another right-in-our-backyard hike for kids – in a spot I never expected – the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is in the Oakland Hills just off Highway 24. Take the Fish Ranch Road exit just before the Caldecott Tunnel and head up the hill. Turn left on Grizzly Peak Blvd. And then another left onto Skyline Blvd. The park entrance is a short distance on the left.

The trail/road starts out a little steep but don’t worry, it flattens out once after about a quarter mile. The first stretch is on a paved service road where you’ll find an interpretive sign describing the area. The road then splits, go right and you’ll end up at the “teleport” which houses communications towers for the East Bay. Go left instead and you’ll hit the trail head for Round Top, Volcanic and Quarry Trails. Each of these loops are a couple of miles a piece, so a pretty easy afternoon walk. Pass through a gate and you’re on your way. Terrain is rocky and a little uneven in stretches so watch your step, especially early on.

The scenery is a combination of coastal mountain with dense Eucalyptus forest and open, sundrenched East Bay Hills complete with rolling open grassland. There’s a nice self-guided tour in the brochure available at the visitor center. This site was operated for years by Kaiser Sand and Gravel, and they uncovered a number of geological features. Make sure you visit the Quarry Pit (stop 2 on the self-guided tour) and check out the very-Zen maze at the very bottom.

Find out more by visiting the park website.

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