Deviating from the norm, this week I explore a place you aren’t likely to find any experienced hikers. Being so small and obscure, Tassajara Creek Regional Park doesn’t even garner a web page on the East Bay Regional Park District site. Because of this, few people know of the park’s existence. Drive by the staging lot and nine out of 10 times it will be empty.
That does not mean Tassajara Creek does not have its uses, though. In fact, I have found that it fulfills a perfect hiking niche. Because of its smallness and seclusion, this is a very friendly spot for young children and puppies to experience a first hike.
The park on Tassajara Road sprouts up once commercial and residential areas turn into rural landscape. Tassajara Road can be reached from Interstate 580, or via the Sycamore exit off Interstate 680. The staging area is about halfway between the two freeways, and across the street from a small school. No turn lane, stop sign or traffic signal leads the way, so slow down and set your blinker early.
There is only one trail, which leads into the trees. This short, zigzagging route passes through interesting flora and fauna.
The path accesses a paved residential trail for those wanting to continue on after exploring Tassajara Creek.
Children particularly love the old bridge spanning the creek, and can hang out comfortably here in the shade of oak trees. A picnic table sits a few yards away for anyone wanting to bring lunch or refuel with some snacks.
There are a few patches of poison oak off the trail, but don’t worry, they can be used as a teaching tool. Tell your children to avoid this plant while they are looking at it, giving them an image rather than a dry description of the three-leafed menace.
While you may not be able to impart such knowledge to a puppy, getting them acclimated to trails at Tassajara Creek can go a long way. They will have a little hiking experience under their collar when presented with longer, more grueling treks.
I took my three-month-old Labrador puppy (who tires after a 15-minute walk) to Tassajara Creek, letting her experience a trail for the first time. Her tail wagged nonstop as she took in myriad first-time smells and sights.
It was only because of Tassajara Creek’s compact size and seclusion that the outing worked. Taking my puppy to any of the bigger, more trafficked regional parks would have been a disaster with barking, whining and feverish leash pulling.
If you are a fit hiker looking for a new trail, Tassajara Creek is not for you. If you have young kids or a puppy and want to give them a short introduction to hiking and nature, Tassajara Creek is the perfect spot.
At a Glance:
Tassajara Creek Regional Park
Address: Across the street from 6100 Tassajara Road, Dublin
Hours: No hours specified.
Best time to visit: Anytime the weather is comfortable. Shade is plentiful so a sunny day will work.
Great for: A maiden hiking adventure.
Could be better if: You identify and avoid poison oak.