Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, California



Tilden Park is known for its Merry-Go-Round, steam trains, petting zoo and Lake Anza. We enjoyed the steam trains on a weekend before Christmas. It was a chilly day when we arrived around noon on a Sunday. We purchased our tickets at the booth and got in line. We were the second group in line for the train. After about 10 minutes of waiting, our train arrived. We chose our own car, two behind the train driver. We noted that our position was a good one, as the steam produced in the front of the train helped warm us on a cool afternoon. Our timing was perfect just before Christmas as our train ride went past many decorative holiday ornaments and even a Santa locomotive. Dress warmly, as it does get chilly in this open-air steam train.

Steam Trains arriving, Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, CA

Steam Trains arriving, Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, CA


After our steam train ride, we followed a small path down to the mini steam trains. Here tickets were not needed, rides are by donation. A narrow “bench” served as seats, as we had one leg over each side of the bench on our short ride. I imagine kids who cannot sit upright would be too young to ride this train.The kids had a lot of fun, and have asked for it to be a yearly holiday tradition. As we were leaving the steam trains at 2 pm, we noticed the line for the ticketed steam train growing in size.

Riding the mini-steam train, Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, CA

Riding the mini-steam train, Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, CA

Seaview and Vollmer Peak Trails

After the steam trains, we headed up to Seaview Trail. The first part of the trail is paved and was a somewhat steep uphill. At the top, we were rewarded by views of Mount Diablo and a couple blue reservoirs. We ducked out of Seaview Trail at Vollmer Peak Trail, as we were in a hurry. Vollmer Peak Trail headed back to our parking lot, but not without views of the Bay Bridge as it made it's way through Treasure Island and into the city. Vollmer Peak Trail, unlike Seaview Trail, is a narrow, muddy and icy trail (at least when we were there). Part of Vollmer Peak and Seaview Trails are part of the Anza National Historic Trail, the route that the first San Francisco colonists used to travel to San Francisco.


Seaview Trail, Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, CA

Seaview Trail, Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, CA


Practical Information (as of December 2016):

Features: Two steam train lines, hikes with a view of Mount Diablo and the Bay

Directions: Tilden Park is located in the Berkeley hills just north of Highway 24--take the Fish Ranch Road exit east of the Caldecott Tunnel, drive uphill, and turn right at Grizzly Peak Blvd. From Grizzly Peak, take the Lomas Cantadas entrance for steam trains and Seaview Trail, (South Park Dr. closed from Oct. 31, 2016 through March 31, 2017)

Train ticket prices: Steam Train - $3/person, $12/ five tickets, Mini train by donation

Train hours: Sat-Sun 11am-5pm (or dusk, whichever first, weather permitting)

Our Hike: a short 1 mile, lots of ups and downs, many opportunities to extend the hike further

Fees: free

Dogs: No Fee

Website: Tilden Regional Park


Warning:  All listed adventures come with inherent risks. The information provided is based on personal experience which may or may not be typical. The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, preparation and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. As such, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  As such, we will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal preparation and judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and always be safe.

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