Beautiful, large and well maintained, Robert’s feels like it’s well outside the city, even though it’s not
Dogs are allowed off leash twenty feet and further from any trailhead.
Convenient to most of the Bay Area – 30 to 45 minutes from downtown San Francisco (depending on traffic), 20 minutes from downtown Berkeley, 15 minutes from Oakland
There are enough other people and dogs around to feel safe and provide some four footed socializing, but never (outside the gorgeous picnic and pool areas) does it feel crowded.
Large and crisscrossed with trails so you can pretty much pick a route that suites the length and challenge you want. Walks with big hills, small hills, almost no hills – pick what you want. Ditto on the length of the walk. Just make sure you look at a map (they give them out) or ask a friendly ranger for advice
Trails have a great mixture of shade and sun
Lots of safe, convenient parking
Surprisingly good cell phone reception in most places
Of Course, It’s Not Perfect
$4 to park and a $2 dog fee. However, as far as I can tell they never actually ask for the dog fee
Mountain bikes are allowed on most, maybe all, trails. It isn’t the kind of place where people whip around fast, but you do need to be aware
Park service maps are a bit hard to read. But then again, the rangers are great and most of the trails seem to be on Google maps
Score: 90% (would be 95% without the bicycles)
Here’s a recommended walk
This route is about two hours with lots of sniffing. You could probably do it in as little as 90 minutes with brisk walking. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to carry water for either you or your dog, but if you don’t mind the weight it wouldn’t hurt.
Start at the lower parking lot fire gate. To park near there, just go in the entrance, pay your parking fee and drive to the far end of the upper parking a lot. A very short road connects it to the lower parking lot.
Here’s a bad picture of the firegate taken from the side (not the front, where you’d go through). And no, the actual firegate doesn’t have an arrow and the words “Enter Here” suspended in midair. Just in case anyone was wondering.
Hit Graham trail (there is a sign) and turn right
(Sorry, no pic. But it is clear, you won’t have any problems)
Hit Dunn Trail and go to the left
Follow Dun trail and you will come to a fork with Montiero Trail on the right. Ignore it and stay to the left (which is pretty much straight) to stay on Dunn trail.
Take a hard left to get on Baccharis Trail
Baccharis hits West Ridge Trail. Go LEFT on West Ridge Trail
Stay on West Ridge Trail. This means staying to the left after passing Madrone trail
Make new friends. Remember, everyone loves you!
Keep following West Ridge. You will go past a picnic area.
Remember it’s not polite to take food from the table, especially belonging to people you don’t know. I think Klondike briefly wondered about this, but good manners prevailed.
Take a left on Robert’s Ridge
Roberts will take you back to the parking lot. You’ll know you are almost there when the sign tells you to leash up your dog
That little path takes to the upper parking lot, which connects to the lower parking and bam! Your walk is done!
Mr. Klondike has generously taken time out of his busy schedule to personally write the following entry:
Excellent dietary supplements are to be found on the sidewalk and in the bushes while walking the neighborhood. My people do not want me to forage, and they often try to open my mouth and take out the food. Which is in itself a great game, but I’d like to be able to swallow. I beat them about half the time.
I was exploring the Western territories (area west of house) this morning with Catering (aka Mieko), and found these. I understand they are called animal crackers. I smelled them, quickly turned around and got one animal before Catering even understood what I was up to.
Excellent flavors! Great mouthfeel! I am not even sure which creature I got to sample, it was maybe a camel. Or perhaps a bear. In either case, it was the first time I ate an exotic animal whole. I got pulled away from the the pile a moment later. Too very bad Catering has such conservative views on my diet.
Near the end of this same walk I found an acorn on the ground. I picked it up, even cracked the hard slippery shell, but then it fell out of my mouth and Catering stopped me. Too very bad again.
Klondike typically rides in the car with back feet on the rear seat and front feet on the center console. But today he decided to mainline Berkeley’s spring air right into his nostrils. As driver and guardian I felt a bit nervous about having his head out the window, but as a motorcyclist I kind of get the thrill.