Bay Area Round Trek – A Special Backpacking Adventure

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Home Forums Campfire Member Trip Reports Bay Area Round Trek – A Special Backpacking Adventure

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  • #3751321
    BPL Member


    Companion forum thread to: Bay Area Round Trek – A Special Backpacking Adventure

    The San Francisco Bay Area has been my chosen home for the last quarter century. It has so much to offer – including great local hiking for a backpack

    BPL Member


    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Looks like a mostly nice adventure looking at your map.  Suburbanites are less fond of pack wearers in general when passing through “non-trail” neighborhoods.  I’ve been eyeing a black backpack in “ultra” that rolls down to 25L and maybe some poles that fold if having to take a similar trip with any urban interface.   The way the interior of the country is burning, coastal ranges may be the only alternatives in some seasons.

    Did you use a tent, tarp, or cowboy camp?  I’m looking at the map and don’t think all your camps were on distant mountains..

    What about food?  I feel eating at restaurants etc.. and keeping backcountry meals to a minimum would reduce pack volume.

    BPL Member


    I cowboy camped in regional wildernesses and state parks and brought my SMD Deschutes in case I need tent. I would grocery shop every two days in cities along the route – Pacifica, San Pablo, Walnut Creek, Livermore and Milpitas. Fresh food was of course heavy and I questioned my decision on a day with 7,000 ft of climb with temperatures in the upper 90s. But I really enjoyed fresh fruit, fresh salads etc. over the usual backpacking food. As my whole gear was just 9 lbs, I felt I could afford the luxury of eating fresh fruit. I didn’t frequent restaurants, etc. as I didn’t feel like sitting inside.

    Lowell k
    BPL Member


    Nice to see this! I live in Walnut Creek and hike locally most of the time. How did you hike 7k in one day? Did that include Mt. Tam? Mt. Diablo?

    BPL Member


    For 8 days I averaged a little over 30 miles per day with the longest day being a little over 40 miles. Four of these days had over 6,000 ft of climb with two days (1. going up over Mt Diablo and through Morgan Territory 2. The Ohlone Wilderness Trail with Rose Peak and Mission Peak) having 7,000 ft of climb.

    Casey Bowden
    BPL Member


    Locale: Berkeley Hills

    Wow! So inspiring…

    And the trip report is spot on as well. Thank you for posting.

    d k
    BPL Member


    Wow, Manfred – sounds like fun.  You definitely got to see a lot of aspects of this place we Bay Area folk call home.

    BPL Member


    Debbie, it was definitely fun to backpack once around the whole Bay Area. As you well know, the local state parks and regional parks are wonderful. Combining them into a 250 mile loop provided me with a JMT-like trek (both in length and elevation gain – that I could start by simply stepping out of my house.

    What was new to me and made it especially fun was to discover all the walkways through cities like the Briones-Mt. Diablo Regional Trail and the Iron Horse Trail in Walnut Creek or the Arroyo Mocho Trail and the Arroyo Del Valle Regional Trail in Livermore

    The Richmond Greenway Trail  made it possible to walk through Richmond away from cars. This comment on the linked website describes that the experience along that trail is quite different than in Walnut Creek and Livermore.

    Worst trail ever
    grannygoose111 March 2021
    If it’s not the homeless, it’s the Garbage as well as the glass . It is a terrible thing for Richmond to allow this to happen the quality of life that they try to promote they don’t keep the trails clean. They force bike riders to ride on the streets by not taking care. They have a bathroom on the trail that the homeless live in.

    Similarly for the CA 237 Bikeway through Milpitas where one comment reads

    Whole trail is littered with trash!!
    wyt168  January 2021
    Felt like riding through a pile of trash!

    Which gets me to the the additional experience I gained on my BART loop. Seeing the diversity of people and their living circumstances while walking through their neighborhoods.

    I didn’t take photos of trash piles and burnt-out cars in front yards as I didn’t want people to think I’m snooping around.  So I can only share this as a verbal description.

    It will take me some time to process it all and come to some kind of conclusion. We are living in close proximity to each other in vastly different circumstances seemingly without knowing anything about each other and our different lives. In some areas I saw a lot of ‘Neighborhood Watch’ signs and suspicious looks and in other areas I saw a lot of trash and respectful greetings and smiles. Makes me wonder …

    So, yes it was a lot of fun and beyond that very educational.


    Mark Wetherington
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western Montana

    Great trip report and an inspiring outing. I’m a huge fan of “right out the front door” adventures and yours looks excellent. Thanks for posting this!

    cyndy b
    BPL Member


    Locale: Somewhere in the Southwest

    Incredibly inspiring.  Thank you for reminding me of the place I used to call home.  I’m not sure I miss living there, but the Bay Area will always hold a special place in my heart for it’s varied beauty.

    Amy Lauterbach
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Manfred, Nice route. We always enjoy other people doing multi-day urban/parklands walks in the Bay Area. We are so fortunate to have so much public land right outside our front doors. The two of us recently completed a Vallejo to Milpitas walk at the same time you were out and covered some of the same ground:

    Is it possible to get a gpx of your track?

    James and Amy



    Chris K
    BPL Member


    Inspiring! Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been dreaming up some routes from our home here in Denver the past few years and this will help propel me into action.

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