Best Easy Day Hikes: San Francisco's East Bay
Trade the impenetrable foliage of the riparian zone along Wildcat Creek for the crackling, littered landscape of a eucalyptus forest along the short Jewel Lake loop. A short meander through the dense riparian zone bordering Wildcat Creek is the highlight of this hike. A raised boardwalk tunnels through tangled growth fortified by the hidden waterway, a web of willow, alder, and berry brambles that harbors songbirds, adorable California newts, squirrels, and other creatures of the thicket. Juxtapose this moist, lush habitat with that of the eucalyptus forest on the hillside just east of the creek—dry, smelling of spice, and dominated by a single species—and you’ll get a snapshot understanding of how invasive species can alter a native environment. The hike begins on the paved road. The Environmental Education Center and Little Farm are on the right (east); stay straight (north) toward Jewel Lake. The Jewel Lake You can also visit the Little Farm, which is next door to the environmental center, and is a favorite of families with young children.