Trekker News January 2023


The sky has cleared so our rained-out hikes are back on schedule!

Sunsets can be beautiful when viewed from the Hillside Natural Area. Photo courtesy of Alina Constantinescu

Attend our Sunset Ramble in the Hillside Area and Motorcycle Hill. Back by popular demand, an evening hike through the Hillside Natural Area and nearby Motorcycle Hill. The hike is about 3.7 miles and 800 feet elevation gain and is expected to take 2.5 hours.  

We will walk at a moderate pace, with breaks as needed to enjoy the views and the conversation. The hike leader is Alina Constantinescu. Meet at the Memorial Grove entrance to the Hillside Natural Area on Schmidt Lane near the Recycling Center on Sunday, January 22 at 3 p.m. This hike was rescheduled from January 22.

Enjoy our fun and educational Fire Prevention Hike. Enjoy a beautiful hike above scenic Wildcat Canyon while learning about fire prevention measures. Teo Carlone, an experienced fire prevention specialist, will highlight homes along the way that have been cleared correctly to minimize loss due to fire. Wear long pants and sturdy shoes. Meet in front of 109 Kensington Road, in Kensington, Saturday January 28, at 2 p.m. This hike was rescheduled from January 14.

Here’s one of several creek views that can be spotted alongside people’s houses in central El Cerrito. Our hike leaders will take us to many others. Photo by Dave Weinstein

Celebrate the rains at our Peeks at Creeks Hike. Many creeks in El Cerrito are covered, but you can find peeks of exposed portions throughout our city. This walk will take us to a selection of these special places along three creek watersheds. Walk leaders Barbara Lass and Wade Huntley will share how they have used local maps to follow buried creek beds, hunt for the signs of the creeks, and learn about the creeks' natural history. Saturday, February 25, 10a.m to noon. Meet on Eureka Avenue between Albemarle Street and Clayton Avenue. This hike will take place rain or shine -- but root for rain!

Try our El Cerrito: North to South Hike. Grab your Clipper card and your hiking boots and join us on a north-to-south, flats-to-hills, and back-to-flats El Cerrito ramble. Along the way, we'll discover many parks, hidden paths, and panoramic trails. 

The hike is seven strenuous miles with an elevation gain/loss of about 1,200 feet. We’ll climb from the flats to the highest points in the hills, with many ups and downs. 

Dress in layers and wear good hiking shoes. Bring poles if you use them, a hat, sunscreen, water, and snacks to fuel up along the way. Restrooms and water refills are available at BART and at a couple of the parks on our route. 

The route can be viewed at  . 

Sunday, March 26, 2023, 9:15 a.m. a.m. to about 1 p.m.. This is a one-way, point-to-point hike: We meet at the east side of the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station on the Ohlone Greenway at 9:15 AM and end at El Cerrito Plaza BART station at 1 p.m. The start/end times are set to match the BART schedule. If you need to drive, parking at BART is free on Sundays; but don't forget your Clipper card since you will need to ride one stop back to your car. Well-behaved dogs on leash are permitted.

Broom pulling continues in the Hillside in January and February. Join El Cerrito’s Green Teams and El Cerrito Trail Trekkers to remove noxious French broom, which chokes out native plants and fuels wildfires. 

We continue to work in the Madera Open Space, where the progress we have made over the past few years is impressive. Whole areas that had been rendered inaccessible by forests of this weed are now open, making it easy to access the creek, and allowing for the growth of otherwise doomed native flora.

The ground will be soft so it will be easy to pull plants out. We will supply tools, gloves and tarps. Bring water and wear sunscreen. No experience necessary! All ages welcome (under 18 with guardian). 

We have two such events planned: Saturday January 21, 2023 and Sunday February 12, 10 a.m. – noon. Meet at north end of Regency Court. Rsvp or simply show up:

Don’t miss the Trail Trekkers annual meeting. This will be our first live, in-person annual meeting since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and it will be a special one. Besides the chance for members to vote for officers – and to nominate potential additions to the board – we will feature a very special speaker on the afternoon of Saturday January 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Garden Room of the city’s Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane.

The business meeting starts at 4, followed by the presentation 15 to 20 minutes later. Are you interested in joining the board or in learning more about leadership roles with Trekkers? Contact our president at

Join us to hear celebrated San Francisco filmmaker Judy Irving discuss her work and what inspires her, and show brief clips from her films focusing on the urban/wildlife interface.

Judy Irving is a Sundance-and-Emmy-Award-winning filmmaker whose theatrical credits include The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, a feature documentary about the relationship between a homeless street musician and a flock of wild parrots in San Francisco, and Pelican Dreams, about California brown pelicans and the people who know them best. 

Her many other film projects, including local gems like Treasures of the Greenbelt and Secrets of the Bay, are detailed on her nonprofit Pelican Media website.  In 2015 Judy was invited to become a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Her upcoming feature release, Cold Refuge, tells the story of people facing adversity who find meaning and community through Bay swimming. 

Grownups and children at last year’s festival shared the wonder of examining rocks in the Hillside that began their existence eons ago deep in the ocean. This is radiolarian chert, composed of shells from radiolaria plankton.  Photo by Dave Weinstein

El Cerrito’s Hillside Festival will be the first week in May. Enjoy the eighth annual Hillside Festival Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, 2023, with more than a dozen hikes and other events scheduled throughout El Cerrito’s 100-acre natural wonderland, the Hillside Natural Area.

The festival, put on by El Cerrito Trail Trekkers and co-sponsored by the city’s Environmental Quality Committee, is free to the public.

Watch for the full schedule with its accompanying map to all events. Hikes and other events start from several locations throughout the Hillside and touch on such subjects as native flora and fauna, insects, trees, geology and history, poetry, fire safety and habitat restoration.

Our leaders are all experts in their fields, and many are expert raconteurs as well. All of our events are family friendly, and some are targeted at young people – including our Nature Scavenger Hunt (photos only; no collecting!)

Our annual haiku contest, with poems submitted before the festival, and winners being read on a haiku hike during the festival, is a popular feature every year.
Want to learn more – or are you interested in participating as a leader? 

Buy our El Cerrito Trail Map. The second edition of this map is available, Jenny K , and Pegasus books on Solano Avenue. Or you can buy a map from us or get one “free” by joining Trail Trekkers. Send $6 for a map to our treasurer, Pam Austin, 834 Kearny St., EC, 94530

Have you renewed your membership? It only costs $20 annually to belong to Trekkers, and $500 buys a life membership. Please renew now or join by going to our website and downloading the membership form.

And consider an additional donation as well. Funds go for trail work, to install trail signs, for a fund to purchase additional open space, as well as incidental expenses. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Trekkers thanks new and renewing members and donors:

Tom Ayres
Ronald Codron
David Drummond and Janet Piggins
Jeremy Fleischman
Rochelle Richardson and David Grasseschi
Linda Margossian
Betsy Mueller
Victoria Nolan
Alan Siegel
Mary Ann Steedman

El Cerrito Trail Trekkers board of directors:
Dave Weinstein, president,
Wade Huntley, vice president
Barbara Lass, secretary
Pam Austin, treasurer,
Clare Sheridan, member at large,
Melissa Hobbs, member at large,

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