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Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail berkeley, ca

Happy New Years!

We were looking for something to do on New Years day and decided to check out this trail since there was no traffic - anywhere! Plus, it's only open to hikers and dogs. Man, it's a good thing we came on a holiday because after spending at least 30 min looking for parking, we finally found a spot and only because of holiday exceptions. The parking lot here is really treacherous and people will park in such a way where it makes it impossible to get out, so get here early so you can leave early!

We did not start the year off as early birds...Normally I won't go into parking since usually we can just point to a map, but this requires some explanation - that's how painful it was!

There are 3 parking options:

This ridiculously small parking lot off Centennial Drive (right before the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden)
A handful of 2 hour limit spots on a residential street. This cuts out about half to 3/4 mile off the hike. We actually checked this out too when we couldn't find any spots in the designated parking lot, and my goodness, these streets are very windy, narrow, steep and in terrible condition.
Only during the above specified times, you can park by California Memorial Stadium (UC Berkeley's outdoor football stadium). If you park here this adds about another half mile.

8 miles, in/out

Since this is an in/out trail, you can make it as long or short as you want. After having such a hard time finding parking, we weren't expecting too much.

We walked up Centennial Drive and made our way to the trailhead and immediately came across many other hikers and dogs. In fact, we probably couldn't go more than 10 min at time without running into others. It could have been because of the holiday, but given it's in the middle of Berkeley's campus, I would expect crowds here.

There's a creek that runs along the path in the beginning. I usually always like to jump into water to cool off my paws.

Overall, the trail is very gradual - in fact, any incline/decline is barely noticeable except for one spot.

The beginning of the steepest incline

The steepest part at about one mile. In fact, it's right by where the trailhead from Panoramic Way is. Once mom saw all the houses she leashed me so that I wouldn't run into people's yards looking for food.

Since part of the trail runs along a residential street Mom still wasn't too impressed with the trail. She thought it was weird hiking right by people's houses.

View going up...

View going down...

Even I had a hard time making it down! I actually stayed on the grass for an easier time.

Views of Berkeley

Once you get past that steep part, the trail becomes more enjoyable with peek-a-boo views. This park reminds me of the San Francisco parks/trails in the middle of the city for locals to enjoy.

The houses disappear and are replaced with trees.

This winter has been particularly dry, but I bet it can get pretty muddy here after it rains.

Alternating spots of sun and shade.

Those views (and my goofy face)!

The higher you go the types of trees also starts to change.

Lots of green.

What is this strange formation?

This is another good trail option for those of you who are training pups off leash as well since the paths are wide and clearly marked. But if your pup is like me, and likes to go jumping into the bushes and running off the trails, then just make sure to check for ticks. Mom pulled off a couple mid-hike and then about 4 more once we got home.

We noticed a lot of other trails that winded off the main path, so you could definitely spend more time here just wandering around.

There are also clear mile markers, which we found helpful.

All in all, we probably won't make an effort to come back out here unless mom wants to run, but this is a convenient neighborhood spot - if you can get there early enough.

Your fur parents want to know:

  • Yes, there is parking
  • Yes, this is an off leash trail
  • No, this is not a fenced enclosure
  • No, there are no doggy (or human) water fountains (locals put out water and treats at the Panoramic Way trailhead)
  • No, there are no poop bags
  • No, there are no trash bins
  • Yes, there is one bench (about 2 miles in)
  • No, there are no toilets

🐾 Caesar

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