Hiking is a great way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors. I especially love regional parks that are maintained by the city because they are well kept and great for families. If you’re looking for a low-key hike and a space to gather with family and friends, Garin & Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks is the perfect place to go. Located in Hayward, California, Garin Park has multiple trails for all hiking levels, from super steep to very flat. There are several picnic areas that can be reserved but there usually aren’t many people so you should be able to find a bench.
Getting to the regional park is very easy, You’ll have to drive uphill through a community to get to the parking lot once you turn off of Mission Boulevard. There is a ticket booth there to collect entry fees but in my few years of going to the park, I have never seen someone in the booth so I’ve never paid. However, the website states that it is $5 per vehicle and $2 per dog so just be prepared in case they decide to start charging. Once inside, there is plenty of parking and depending on what part of the park you want to explore, you can choose the parking lot accordingly. It is open from sun up to sun down and is a great place to watch the sunset as you can enjoy views of the east bay area from the most western trail.
Wheelchairs and strollers can easily roll through the parking lot to the picnic areas but the trails can get narrow and rough so it may be a struggle if you’re on wheels. If you have a hiking stroller, that may come in handy if you’re coming with your little ones.
As mentioned earlier there are plenty of benches and picnic tables throughout the park. There is a bathroom located near the entrance of the park and a portable toilet going towards the pond. There is also plenty of shade provided by the trees to stay protected during the hotter days.
Many people fish at the pond (though I’m not sure how successful you’ll be) or bring the horses for a stroll. The pond isn’t that large but it’s a decent size to skip rocks and duck watching. There is also a ton of cattle grazing in the fields so watch out for the poop when you’re hiking. Dogs are allowed on a leash and kite flying is restricted to certain areas. At the entrance of the park there are a few old tractors that you can check out.
All in all, Garin & Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park is a great location for family hiking and even a picnic. There usually isn’t an entry fee and it is very easy to get to. This park is my go-to when I want to go outdoors but don’t want to travel far and battle traffic.
If you would like to read more about the park, check here.
Be sure to check out my other adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area here!