Exploring Wildcat Canyon Regional Park (Richmond, CA)
Recently I took a field trip out to Richmond, CA. I’ve heard Wildcat Canyon Regional Park was a gorgeous but tough spot to run, so I was excited to check out some trails. It did not disappoint, and the 1700 feet of climbing was tough.
About Wildcat Canyon Regional Park:
The park itself is 2,789 acres and runs along the Wildcat Creek watershed. It extends from the Tilden Nature Area into the Berkeley hills and then down to Richmond and historic Alvarado Park. I started at the north end near Richmond, which put most of the hills and climbing first.
When I arrived at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park around 7:15 am, it wasn’t too busy at all. There was plenty of parking. When I left around 9:30 am, there were still parking spots available.
According to the website, Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is popular with runners, hikers, bikers, and equestrians. I didn’t see any equestrians but plenty of runners, hikers, and bikers.
There are some challenging parts throughout the trails, but for the most part, Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is easily accessible. The San Pablo Ridge Trail is rated as “hard” and had some tough climbs. Nimitz Way has hills but is paved as well, and I saw plenty of families. Plus, there are picnic tables and benches throughout the trails. Plus, you can reserve the area for parties. Dogs must be kept on leashes. You can learn more about Wildcat Canyon Regional Park here.
Wildcat Canyon Regional Park has 25 miles of trails. Some of the most interesting parts include:
- 2.5 miles of paved trail on Nimitz Way
- 6 miles of singletrack trails in the Tilden Nature Area.
I decided to run the “San Pablo Ridge Trail,” which was just over 7 miles. It was a challenging 7 miles, and I averaged somewhere around 12 minutes per mile. There is almost no shade, and it does get hot.
Since I started at the North End in Richmond, the first two miles were definitely the hardest. I climbed about 800 feet, and much of it was a combination of hiking/walking/running. There were several cows throughout the run/hike, and I chose to reroute not to get “too close.”
It was a lot of nature in climbing in the first two miles, and I honestly wondered if I had “what it takes” to finish the loop.
When running, I did see a couple of coyotes. They weren’t close, but they were still too close for comfort.
After reaching the Wildcat Canyon Regional Peak around 5.3 miles, I headed back. The backend had several steep downhill portions, and I tried to take it easy and not tumble down. I’ve been working on running downhills better.
In all, Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is one of my more favorite parks in the San Francisco/Bay Area. If you are looking for a challenging hike or run, it’s your spot. While there isn’t too much shade, you’ll be ok as long as you bring water.
You can see more hikes here.
Questions for you:
What is the hilliest hike/run you’ve done?
Have you ever been to Wildcat Canyon Regional Park?