These adjoining parks in the low rolling hills above Hayward were created from two 19th-century ranches. A small ridge keeps the most-used areas well isolated from the Hayward suburbs, so even though the Bay Area is just yards away, the parks feel remarkably quiet and natural.
Garin features busy picnic sites at the edge of a large lawn, a visitor center in a red barn, and a picturesque duck pond. There’s a kite-flying field and a steep hillside where kids sled down on the grass. On nice weekends there always seem to be several huge group barbeques going on around the lawn, and in early September the park has a popular apple festival that features unusual varieties of the fruit from the park’s apple trees.
Dry Creek is more natural, with open, grass-covered hills that provide great views of the Bay Area. The park has a historic cottage and garden, but its trails are the main draw; the ones that run along the bottom of the valley are especially popular.
A scenic loop that climbs to an open ridge with fine views over Hayward and the San Francisco Bay, then returns through a series of attractive wooded canyons.
A concise cross-section of Dry Creek’s best scenery, with lots of rolling grassy hills, some attractive woodland, and a steep climb to some nice views of the Bay Area.
A loop around the low rolling hills of Garin Regional Park that features a trip through a wooded canyon. It’s quite enjoyable and scenic, but somewhat overshadowed by the more dramatic High Ridge Loop.
© 2018, 2022 David Baselt