Sheltering in Place with a Couple of Unusual Backyard Visitors

bird watching

I have a tall redwood tree in my backyard that two raptors have begun to use as perches, one in the day time and the other at night.  My day time visitor is a white-tailed kite, an accipiter that eats mostly small rodents. The white-tailed kite hovers above its prey, wings flapping, until it suddenly swoops down, talons out, and grabs its meal. This type of behavior is called hovering. The kite… Read More

Take a Closer Look at Birds in Your Neighborhood, Learn About Local Climate, & Recycle Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

bird watching

With just four materials (see instructions below), you can make your own bird feeder and watch birds in your neighborhood! Recognizing and noticing the different types and numbers of bird species in your area can be a sign of how the local climate is behaving. Climate change does a lot more than just heat up our planet, it can also cause more intense weather, including floods, heatwaves, and droughts. This extreme weather… Read More

Beach Day for Kids, Dogs & Anyone Who Loves the California Coast

dillon beach california

My family first discovered Dillon Beach when looking for a weekend getaway — not too far from our home in Oakland, good for multiple generations — as we were celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday. With just one small store and restaurant, this beach remains less well known than the Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay coastline to the south and Bodega Bay to the north. Public access to Dillon Beach is… Read More

The Hidden Stairways of the Sunset

Sunset's hidden stairways

In San Francisco, we’re lucky to have so many outdoor options within such a big city. In the Sunset alone, we have Golden Gate Park’s trails to wander and open fields to frolic in. And we can’t forget the soothing waves of Ocean Beach. But one gem that may not be quite so obvious in the Sunset is its hidden stairways. Walking the district in search of these unique stairs is a… Read More

Bodega Bay in the Rain

Teri Shore, our North Bay Regional Director, shares her experience tracking a bobcat and tips for visiting Bodega Bay—even in the rain.

A Loop Around Joaquin Miller Park


Joaquin Miller Park has a ton of hiking trails that you can choose from. This park features second-growth redwood trees and is very lush and shaded. It’s a wonderful place to hike rain or shine. The trail is always blanketed with redwood leaves so it’s never muddy, and on hot days it’s a natural air conditioner.  The redwoods in Joaquin Miller Park are considered to be one of the few Redwood forests… Read More

An Easy Hike Up Mitchell Canyon

Mitchell Canyon Mount Diablo

The Mitchell Canyon Trail in Mount Diablo State Park is a peaceful hike in the shadow of our devil mountain. It begins near the parking area for Mitchell Canyon. The wide trail has a very gentle uphill grade for 2 miles, mostly shaded, with just one short steep stretch. Mitchell Canyon is one of the more historic spots on the mountain. Legend has it that in the winter of 1826-1827, the famous… Read More

DIY Hike: Dry Creek Garden to Jordan Pond

Check out this DIY Hike created for you by Greenbelt Alliance. Get to know your local greenbelt!

Top Five DIY Urban Hikes in the Bay Area

© Mike Kirschner

DIY Hikes are complete self-guided outings in and around Bay Area cities and towns—and they’re all accessible via public transit! Here is our top five list of DIY Hikes around the Bay Area. Prefer to go with an expert? Check out our free weekend outings.

DIY Hike: Sugarloaf Open Space a Walnut Creek Treat

Check out this DIY Hike created for you by Greenbelt Alliance. Get to know your local greenbelt!