This hike gives a nice overview of Joseph D. Grant County Park, passing through its distinctive oak-woodland ecosystem but sparing you... more » from the brutal ascents and descents that characterize so many of the hikes in this park.
Grant County Park (often called "Grant Ranch" because the land was once owned by prominent ranchers of the same name) does not have the waterfalls or rock formations that popularize many parks in the Bay Area, but it was vast swaths of open, wild terrain.
The wildness manifests itself in a wonderful wildflower bloom every spring along with a wide range of animals you'll rarely see outside a zoo: coyotes, turkeys, bobcats, tarantulas and the occasional rattlesnake or mountain lion.
Scan the skies for raptors (red-tailed hawks are common; golden eagles fly by, too) and watch for old dead trees where acorn woodpeckers have stowed future meals.
Trails on this hike: Dutch Flat Trail > Dairy Trail > Brush Trail > San Felipe Trail.
This is also a nice kid-friendly day hike if you're camping at the park.
Spring is naturally the best time to go, followed by fall and winter. Summer's just too hot to enjoy a hike here. less «