Hiking in the Bay Area - When You're Not Paragliding

We've learned that students usually come out for their tandem paragliding flights in groups. We're lucky enough to be able to take two people flying at the same time because we have multiple tandem qualified instructors available. Having said that, there are times when you may have to wait because of weather or larger groups. Because of this, we'd like to share some of the trails you can explore if you have to wait a bit to fly. There's some gorgeous hiking in the bay area and we're lucky enough to fly near places where you can experience some of that.

[caption id="attachment_264" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Two tandem paragliders flying in tandem near St. John's Trail.[/caption]


St John's/Hiddenbrooke Trails

We fly around this area all the time whether we're flying tandems or not. We think this area offers the best hiking in the bay area where you can fly as well. During the spring, late fall, and winter, you'll be hiking through rolling green hills. If you're into Geocaching, there's 4 geocaches all within a 10 minute walk of each other. Start midway up St Johns Mine Road and go to the left and you'll find yourself hiking next to 100-200 foot vertical rock formations composed of basaltic lava. Go right from St Johns Mine Road and you'll find yourself on a longer hike along a ridge line that ends at Blue Rock Springs Park. Apparently there are also trails around this area that take you to Sulphur Springs Mountain if you're really feeling adventurous.

Mussel Rock Area

This area is gorgeous! We told you earlier that The St. John's area offered the best hiking in the bay area while you're waiting to fly. Some will argue with us about that. If anything Mussel Rock is a close second. When the weather cooperates well enough for flying, you will see brightly colored paragliders everywhere!  There's a cave underneath the parking lot that might be worth checking out if the tide is low. You can also take the trail to this cool little perch here where you can overlook the cliff and the ocean. During certain times of the year, you can see pods of dolphins and whales and the perch is one of the best areas (other than from a paraglider) to see that. Lastly, if you're really crazy, you can hike up the cliff from the perch and take the trails that go north.

[caption id="attachment_260" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Hiking above the perch at Mussel Rock.[/caption]

Ascot-Rose Trail

This Benicia trail starts at the bottom of Rose Drive, goes up a ridge, and then down to Ascot Parkway. It's a fairly benign trail with only one steep area. The very top of the ridge is 700 feet tall and provides views of the bay to the west and views of endless rolling hills and Lake Herman to the east. There's also a bench at the top which would be a cool place to have a picnic and watch the sunset.