Huckleberry Botanic Preserve

 Huckleberry Botanic Preserve is a beautiful 240 acre gem tucked away in the East Bay hills of Oakland.  The diversity of tree and plant life, the exotic sounds of numerous birds, and the twisted, narrow trails make this hike a treasured experience. 

See the Photo Map here.  (Oddly, several of the images were tagged to a residential area. Just a GPS hiccup.)

Trails Taken: Huckleberry Path, Skyline National Trail, Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Mileage: 1.7 miles for the self guided tour.

Trailhead:  From Hwy 24 in Oakland, take the Fish Ranch Road exit just east of the Caldecott Tunnel. Continue .8 miles to Grizzly Peak Blvd.  Turn left, and go 2.4 miles on Grizzly Peak to Skyline Blvd. Turn left and drive about 1/2 mile to the park entrance on the left, past Sibley Volcanic Preserve.

DirectionsYahoo Map 

More Information: East Bay Parks Page

Notes and Impressions:  

Huckleberry Preserve has a nice guided tour, if there are any of the brochures available.  Several of the times I've visited, they were all gone, and some of the signposts had been knocked down.  If you don't see any of the brochures, here is what you will find:

1. Pacific Madrone

2. California Hazelnut

3. Western Sword Fern

4. Wood Fern

5. Latent Successional Stage (Describing how Bay Trees are shading out the competition.)

6.Manzanita Barren

7. Douglas Iris

8. Western Leatherwood

9. Jimbrush

10. Canyon Live Oak

11. Coast Huckleberry

12. Intermediate Successional Stage (Describes the tall, dense canopy of leaves.)

13. Chinquapin

14. Brittleleaf Manzanita

15. Pallid Manzanita

16. Coast Silktassel

17. Pink Flowering Currant


The parking lot at the trailhead is fairily small.  There is a picnic table and a pit toilet.  The trail starts on your right, where you'll find the maps and guides.  You can take the upper or lower path, but the self guided tour starts on the lower path.  At 1.7 miles, it's not a strenous hike, and I've seen numerous parents with young children on the trail.  At Interpretive station 6, in the Manzanita barren, there is a nice bench where you can enjoy a break or lunch.   

Taking the lower trail will lead you through a beautiful and lush Bay forest.  Many of these trees are covered in a soft green moss, which seems to glow when hit by sunlight.

According to the brochure, there are flowering plants nearly year round. I spotted this beautiful lilac on the path:

Perhaps because of the abundant flowers, I could hear the buzz of Hummingbirds throughout the path.  I was able to film one briefly:

You'll also see some spectacular spooky faces in the trees, like these:

This is an easy and beautiful hike, so get out there!