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This park in the Berkeley Hills features nearly every plant and flower species native to California in one skillfully landscaped, 10-acre masterpiece. The garden is divided into sections and subsections with labels that represent each region in California, from Southern California deserts to the Pacific Rainforest. Come in March to see the California poppy and wallflowers, or in September to see California fuchsias, hibiscus and sunflowers. The Visitor Center offers lectures and slide shows on Saturdays from November through February and hosts a plant sale in the spring.
The Bay Area tourist may be surprised to learn that volcanoes once roared in the Oakland hills. This preserve, maintained by the East Bay Parks and Recreation Department, features Round Top, a peak made of ten million-year-old lava and volcanic debris that is one of the highest points in the Oakland hills. The park was one of the first three in the East Bay Regional Parks District, established in 1936. A visitor center at the park has self-guided tour brochures so guests can stroll the park and learn of its historic significance at their own leisure.
A towering figure in the Marin County landscape, Mount Tamalpais is one of the county's key landmarks. At 2,571 feet (784 meters) it is the tallest of the Marin Hills. Surrounded by a dense cover of tress and grasslands, this is a must visit for every nature-lover. Several hiking trails lead up to the peak, where breath-taking views await those who make the climb.
Mount Tamalpais East Peak is a popular hiking trail in the Mount Tamalpais State Park. Surrounded by lush trees and pretty flowers and featuring stunning views of the valley, it is always to joy to hike on this quarter mile (one kilometer) trail.
This 235-acre botanical wonderland beyond the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve specializes in plants and flowers from the California coastline. Maintained by the East Bay Park and Recreation Department, it features a trail called the Huckleberry Path that winds through blooming plants and diverse landscaping. Visitors are asked to walk through the preserve (no bicycles allowed) and dogs, bikes, and horses are not permitted. Self-guided tour maps are available at the entrance so guests can stroll on the 1.69-mile loop at their own pace.
Redwood Regional Park is located in the hills of Oakland. It boasts the largest remaining natural strand of coastal redwood in the East Bay. Early mariners used to use these tall redwood trees to help them navigate the San Francisco Bay. Many locals enjoy hiking and biking around the available trails, which offers gorgeous scenery. In addition to the deer, rabbits and squirrels that roam the park, it is also home to rare wildlife species such as the golden eagle and the striped racer snake. The Roberts Regional Recreation Area, a park within the park, features a swimming pool and playgrounds. Throughout the park, you will find access to a well-maintained system of restrooms, water fountains and picnic tables. The Chabot Observatory and Science Center is one of the park's most prominent attractions.