Tilden Regional Park

Whether it’s a big fat wedding, a splashy swim at Lake Anza, or a nature stroll at the Botanical Garden, Tilden is the place to go for fun lovers of all ages. The 2,079-acre wilderness wonder is tucked between the Berkeley Hills and the San Pablo Ridge. Read on to know more.

Among the highlights are hiking trails with a view, an antique menagerie carousel, and a miniature steam train. The Botanical Garden is home to the world’s most complete collection of California native plants.

Hiking Trails

Tilden Park’s hiking trails are diverse, ranging from shaded forest paths to ridge-top views. A highlight of this hike is the Native Garden, a hillside trail featuring lupines, tidy tips, and clarkia, the work of volunteers who built it, maintain it, and continue to add plants.

Located minutes from downtown Berkeley, Tilden Regional Park is a natural wonderland of 2,079 acres of forested hills that ring the city’s eastern cusp. The park boasts a variety of family-friendly activities, including swimming in Lake Anza, exploring the Botanic Garden, and riding the Herschell-Spillman Merry-Go-Round.

Parking is available at the Old Tunnel Road Staging Area, or in the nearby public lot. If the lot is full, street parking is allowed. From the parking lot, walk past the stone gates and start walking uphill on the paved Nimitz Way Trail. The trail climbs steadily, with a few short stretches of shade and beautiful visit spots. Be sure to bring water and sun protection on a sunny day.

Lake Anza

One of the Bay Area’s great little swim spots. It’s a modestly sized lake that’s ideal for rafting parties and swimming. Unfortunately, the algae are going crazy right now (corona crisis) so it’s not safe to swim, but there are huge rocks across from the designated swim area that makes for fun jumping into the water.

The lake is surrounded by a sandy beach and a picnic area and opens for swimming seasonally. There are changing rooms, a snack bar/cafe, and toilets nearby.

The park has tons of family-friendly activities, including pony rides, a miniature golf course, tennis courts, a merry-go-round, and a steam train railway. Tilden Park is also home to a botanic garden and a trout fishing pond. There are also hiking trails and a number of other sports fields. Located high in the Berkeley Hills, this 2,079-acre park is an amazing natural oasis. Just a short drive from downtown Berkeley and yet a world away. Browse around this site to check more places to visit.

Herschell-Spillman Merry-Go-Round

The Herschell-Spillman Merry-Go-Round is a classic fair ride that will delight your favorite little lion tamers. It features beautifully carved animals from the animal kingdom. In addition to horses, you will find zebras and even an elephant! This merry-go-round is calmly paced and scaled down for children. The Allan Herschell Company was a leading manufacturer of amusement park rides in the area. It is known for creating the Kiddieland concept, a specialized group of rides designed for small children.

The Allan Herschell Company also created some large park machines, generally elaborate menagerie carousels. The company created 18 separate menagerie animals for their larger carousels. The Herschell-Spillman menagerie has 50 jumping and stationary horses, and a 1916 Wurlitzer style No 153 musical band organ.

Located at the west end of the park, this merry-go-round is one of six that George F. Johnson donated to the community. He was committed to recreation for the Endicott-Johnson workers and their families. His commitment was so strong that the Binghamton Press said “…wherever an Endicott-Johnson factory is, there will be not far away a handsome merry-go-round for the workers’ children.”

Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden features the world’s most complete collection of California native plants and offers tours throughout the year. The Garden is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, from families with small children in strollers to hikers who take advantage of the park’s numerous trails.

Wander through a fairytale landscape of stone bridges, quaint meadows and gently flowing waterfalls reminiscent of childhood storybooks. You’ll be surprised to find this hidden treasure only a few miles from downtown Berkeley and the ever-popular Tilden Park Steam Train.

This is a 2,079-acre wilderness wonderland that offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Whether you’re looking for some solitude among the trees, an outdoor adventure or a fun day out with the family, Tilden Regional Park is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Featuring hiking trails of all levels, a lake, a carousel, and more, this is one of the best things to do in Berkeley. Browse the next article.



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