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No car? No problem! Take Bay Area public transit to these 3 great hikes

A view from the hike.
Mount Tamalpais is pictured on a spring day overlooking San Francisco. | Source: Adobe Stock

The Bay Area’s natural wonders have become even more accessible thanks to Evan Tschuy, who has put together a map of hiking trails reachable by public transit. From as far north as the Mendocino National Forest and as far south as San Juan Bautista, Tschuy’s map details how you can access both popular and lesser-known trails—all without a car.

The recommended hikes are divided into three categories—East Bay, Marin and South Bay—though the map covers a much larger expanse. And while some of the hikes require walking to or from a transit station, it’s never more than a 30-minute or so walk to get to the trailhead.

Tschuy’s map includes his own assessments of trails and regions with pithy statements like “Lafayette is interesting” and “Siesta Valley is odd.” He has surveyed transit agencies from BART to UC Berkeley's Bear Transit, SamTrans in San Mateo County to Caltrain, SolTrans in Solano County to AC Transit in Alameda County, with one notable exception: Muni.

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“Our lands feature everything from cool, damp redwood forests to rolling oak savannahs,” Tschuy writes on his website. “One of the most incredible parts of living here is how much of it is public land—our land—open for anyone to explore.”

Below we’re including a few highlights of some of Tschuy's favorites from the new map.

A view from the hike.
Trail on Mount Tamalpais looking towards San Francisco. | Source: Adobe Stock

Black Diamond Mines: Clayton to Antioch 

Pass by former black diamond mines along this hike, which is Tschuy’s favorite in the East Bay parks system. Along with incredible views, you can also enjoy exploring a 200-foot-long prospecting tunnel and an atmospheric cemetery.

Mount Tamalpais: Panoramic Highway to East Peak 

There’s arguably no better view of the North Bay than from Mount Tamalpais, or, as Tschuy notes, “Mt. Tam between friends.” There are multiple options for summiting the Sleeping Beauty—try the medium-hard version that’s most accessible from San Francisco.

Alum Rock: Penitencia Creek Trail 

Go from the Berryessa-North San Jose BART Station all the way to Alum Rock Park, one of California’s oldest municipal state parks. The old railways along this trail once carried San Jose residents to mineral water resorts that used to line the canyon (believe it or not, San Jose used to be known across the country for its natural spring waters, which allegedly provided numerous health benefits). You’ll find remnants of that past, as well as modern-day amenities like playgrounds and picnic areas, and you can make your hike through the park as long or as short—as challenging or as easy—as you’d like (portions of the park have been closed recently due to storm damage, so be sure to check the park's website for updates before you head out).

Julie Zigoris can be reached at