Cafe Ohlone’s Louis Trevino and Vincent Medina share a guide to hikes and nature walks that capture the beauty of Ohlone’s heritage and their Native American tribe’s connection to the Bay Area..Less
Sunol Valley, whose Native name is tawnan, is a beautiful landscape of canyons, meadows, and waterfalls along Alameda Creek. This creek is where our great-grandmothers were born on the old Indian Rancheria and our Chochenyo language was preserved in the 1920s. One can walk for hours without seeing another human, though you may see a wildcat. In spring, California’s native flowers thrive here, with whole hillsides turning orange from poppies and purple from lupines.
Redwood Regional Park, whose Native name is saklan, stands atop the Oakland hills. The park features towering third-growth redwoods, where many of our family’s pre-contact villages were once located. In the days prior to colonization, this area held some of the planet’s most majestic coastal redwood groves. A complex network of deep trails moves through these beloved trees along San Leandro Creek in a chilly, misty microclimate unique to this space.
Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is a moody, ancient volcano in the East Bay hills. It’s a short drive from the skyscrapers of downtown Oakland. A trail leads to the deep center of the crater of the volcano, a tangible reminder of how old the landscape of the East Bay is — this place has never been a “new world.”
Coyote Hills, its native name tuywun, is a series of low-lying hills along the southern East Bay shoreline that juts into the San Francisco Bay. The hills are surrounded by salt flats and tule marshes that are teeming with life of all kinds. As children, our grandmothers led cultural classes there to teach our Ohlone traditions — if you squint your eyes, it looks as if colonization never occurred here.
Inspiration Point is an accessible, paved trail at the crest of the Berkeley Hills, just a short drive from downtown Berkeley. The trail is teeming with an abundance of wildlife, such as rabbits, crows, and quails. It also has a rich flora of fragrant flowering seed plants, bay laurel forests, and sages. When you look down from the trail, the contrasting urban flatlands are visible right below, as is San Francisco Bay.