Kid-Friendly Hikes to See Wildflowers Superbloom in the East Bay - 510 Families
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Kid-Friendly Hikes to See Wildflowers Superbloom in the East Bay

Our guest writer today is Anna Gerasimenko.

If your kiddos are like mine, you’ll need a hook to get them into the car for a hike. Sometimes that’s the promise of M&M’s every 7 steps, but in the spring it’s the wildflower superbloom. There’s just something magical about the vibrant colors of wildflowers that excite even the most hike-hating kids.

The glorious wildflower superbloom is just about upon us here in the East Bay, usually beginning towards the end of March and lasting through mid-May. So we’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly hikes to see wildflowers this spring and some helpful resources to identify them so you always have an answer when your kids demand, “What’s that flower called?!

child looking at wildflowers
Pretty California Poppies are all over the East Bay hills these days | Photo: Julie Herson

More toddler-friendly hikes in your area>>

Tilden Park, Berkeley

You’ll already be at Little Farm with your lettuce, so why not take a short hike around Jewel Lake too? The full 1.3 loop is not necessarily stroller-friendly, but doable for an intrepid toddler. It can get pretty muddy, and part of the trail on the back side of the lake may be closed due to trees down. But you’ll find plenty of pretty little blue flowers and possibly turtles on a warm day.

Tilden Wildflowers and Plants >
Website >

child touching wildflowers
Just touching the wildflowers, not picking, promise! | Photo: Julie Herson

Leona Canyon, Oakland

Leona Canyon is a local gem known for its beauty year-round. The hike in the canyon is super easy and relatively short. Kids from babies to teens will find something to enjoy there. The hiking path goes along the creek, with a meadow full of California Poppies at the very beginning of the trail, perfect for getting littles excited for the hike to come. It’s also a dog-friendly hike if you have a pup who’d like to tag along.

Wild Plants of Leona Canyon >
Website >

child walking on hiking trail
Wildflowers are nature’s eye candy…but I still bring actual candy to keep the hike moving along | Photo: Julie Herson

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Oakland

Famous for its Round Top Volcano and several man-made labyrinths, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve gets even more exciting with all the wildflowers scattered among the hills. The 3-mile round trip hike works best for older school-aged kids with lots of wildflower spotting along the way.

Sibley Volcanic Preserve Wildflowers >
Website >

red wildflowers on hiking trail
So many colorful wildflowers to be found in the East Bay hills | Photo: Julie Herson

Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley

With so many activities for kids Anthony Chabot Regional Park is already offering, in the spring the whole park turns into a super bloom playground with a variety of wildflowers. The hiking trails there are best for older school-aged kids, however, for younger kids nearby Lake Chabot offers an easy paved walk along the lake which is stroller-friendly and great for kids of any age.

Anthony Chabot Regional Park Wildflowers >
Website >

little blue wildflowers on hiking trail
So many of these little blue wildflowers lining East Bay trails | Photo: Julie Herson

Sunol Wilderness Regional Preserve, Sunol

Each spring, tons of different types of wildflowers bloom in Sunol Wilderness Regional Preserve. About a 45-minute drive from Oakland, this hike is great for kids of all ages. The main parking lot is right by the Green Barn and Visitor Center where you can pick up a Wildflower Identification Kit before hitting the trails. The Wildflower Explorations Programs are on a first-come first-served basis with sign-ups required the morning of at the Sunol Visitor Center.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to bring lunch – there are plenty of picnic tables along Alameda Creek where kids can explore, study rocks, and chase lizards.

Sunol Wildflowers >
Website >

kids hiking
I have them carry little sketchbooks in their backpacks if inspiration is sparked along the way | Photo: Julie Herson

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Antioch

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is another East Bay wildflower hot spot, about a 45-minute drive from Berkeley and Oakland. The hills along the hiking trails leading to the famous coal mines become awash in colorful flowers and wildlife. You’ll need extra M&M’s for this one as it’s a bit longer and steeper. Probably best for older kids.

Black Diamond Mines Wildflowers >
Website >

little girl hiking
Hats and layers are always a good idea on East Bay hikes. Dresses optional. | Photo: Julie Herson

How to prep for your hike:

  • Discuss with little kids that they can’t pick the flowers, but you can take ALL the pics they want
  • Bring along a notebook and a few colored pencils so they can draw what they see
  • Keep your eye out for poison oak!
  • Pack M&M’s or other favorite incentives to dole out when the whining begins
  • Bring Snacks/lunch/blanket for mid-way meal break
  • Throw extra clothes and wipes in the car for post-hike clean-up.
  • Put a plastic bag in the trunk for dirty shoes

What’s your favorite wildflower spot? Favorite hike candy? Share them with us in the comments!

Thanks again to Anna Gerasimenko.

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