Looking for somewhere close to the San Francisco bay area to camp and hike for a weekend? Rent one of our teardrops and head on over to the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. This place is amazing right now with rolling green hills, amazing hiking and close enough to San Francisco to be a quick weekend get away.
The East Bay Regional Park District has many parks and today we explored Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. This area used to be a very active ranch until Coal was discovered in the 1860’s. Five coal mining towns thrived in the area. Nearly 4 million tons of coal were removed from the earth here. In the 1920’s sand mining began and was used in making glass. The last mines closed in 1949 and in 1970 the park was created from nearly 6,000 acres of land. This area is ideal for hiking, picnicking and nature study.
On weekends you can still tour the Hazel-Atlas mine which produced silica sand to make jars, bottles and other glass items. You can take a 1300 foot walk into the mine and see the mine workings, ore chutes and the shifters office. The 90 minute tour runs on weekends from March through November for a fee of $5/person.
Hiking within the park is amazing, during our trip this past weekend the hills were a beautiful rolling green everywhere, the trails were nicely maintained and signed. Stewartville Loop trail is a lightly trafficked trail at 8 miles and a pretty good elevation gain throughout. Make sure to take water as there’s no shade on this trail.
When we arrived at the parking lot we were surprised how full it was but once we started hiking we were the only ones out there. For most of the trail we didn’t see anyone else. There were a few times when we crossed paths with a mountain biker but other then that it felt like we had the place to ourselves.
Be on the look out for the wildlife, mostly we saw cows but we also saw a fox in the distance and also stumbled upon a rattle snake sunning himself right in the middle of the trail. If you have dogs be sure to keep them on the leash!
Get out there and enjoy these beautiful parks that East Bay has to offer, a quick drive from the city and a great place to take the family. Rent one of our teardrops and just enjoy the peaceful weekend camping in style.