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Walking and hiking have always been permitted outdoor activities in California amid the coronavirus pandemic, but only as long as you can socially distance. While the Bay Area is home to countless beautiful trails and walking paths, many of them are narrow and not the best candidates for social distancing.
We've compiled a list of trails that are wider, and in some cases paved, to make it easier for you to get outside while also staying safe.
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Remember, public health guidelines indicate you should stay 6 feet away from people outside your household. While it's not required to wear a mask while exercising, it's a good idea to bring one along in case you find yourself in close proximity with others. Some counties, like Marin, are asking non-county residents to stay away to avoid crowding.
You should also use common sense when going out for a hike. Try to go during the week when it's less crowded and keep in mind trails may be especially crowded on Memorial Day weekend.
Inspiration Point, Tilden Regional Park, Alameda County
This paved trail is nice and wide making it easy to pass other hikers while staying 6 feet apart. Along the way there are beautiful views of the East Bay Hills, the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin and if you look closely, bits of the San Francisco skyline peeking through the trees. The parking lot at the trailhead is open. More info.
Virl O. Norton Trail, Almaden Quicksilver County Park, Santa Clara County
Almaden Quicksilver has loads to explore, and this trail is a good place to start. The path is wide and begins at the park's Mockingbird Entrance. More info.
Iron Horse Regional Trail, Contra Costa and Alameda counties
This ultra-long trail runs from Concord to Pleasanton. It has many places you can park along the way, including two BART station. When it's completed, the trail will eventually be 55 miles long and connect 12 cities. More info.
Great Highway, San Francisco
A two-mile stretch of the Great Highway is temporarily closed to cars from Lincoln Way to Sloat Boulevard. Normally a vehicle traffic thoroughfare, now it's turned into a place for joggers, bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the coast.
Jack London State Historic Park, Sonoma County
The parking lot at this historic state park recently reopened and there's lots to explore in this Sonoma County park. Whether you want to take a quick walk to check out Jack London's old stomping grounds or head out on a back-country hike, there are lots of trails to choose from. More info.
Contra Costa Canal Trail, Contra Costa County
The horseshoe-shaped trail connects much of central Costa County and runs through several parks along the way. There's plenty of room to spread out or stop and have a picnic. More info.
Albany Bulb, Alameda County
Definitely one of the Bay Area's quirkier outdoor spaces, the Albany Bulb embraces its past as an old landfill. It's filled with trash sculptures, graffiti and other oddities. There are lots of paths to wander so just take a turn when you see another group of people. You'll probably find something weird along the way. There's also a beach nearby with even more room to spread out. More info.
Sweeney Ridge Trail, San Mateo County
The trail between San Bruno and Pacifica has views of the bay on one side and the ocean on the other. Not to mention views of Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo and the Farallons. What more could you want? More info.
Lafayette Ridge Trail, Briones Regional Park, Contra Costa County
The 6.6-mile out-and-back trail is blooming with wildflowers right now. The path is wide and you'll get views of Mt. Diablo and the East Bay hills. More info.
Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, Santa Clara County
The preserve south of Los Gatos has multiple hiking trails that are wider than 6 feet, and they've even created a helpful map to show you which ones. Check it out here.
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
San Francisco's massive urban park has plenty of room to roam. Whether you want to spread out on a picnic blanket and read or walk among the eucalyptus trees, there are probably lots of nooks and crannies you haven't yet discovered in Golden Gate Park. More info.
Roys Redwoods Preserve, Marin County
Roam 293 acres of forest and stand in awe of the towering redwood trees. Dogs are welcome on leash. More info.
Milagra Ridge Trail, San Mateo County
Located between Highway 1 and Skyline Boulevard in Pacifica, you'll get beautiful views of the ocean as you gain elevation along Milagra Ridge. More info.
Have a trail recommendation to add to the list? firstname.lastname@example.org.