I’ve decided to begin walking the Bay Area Ridge Trail and chronicle it here. This is an explanation of what the trail is, along with some information on my particular route.
The Bay Area Ridge Trail (which I’m generally going to refer to as the BART Bay Area Rapid Transit is quicker but is not as extensive is an as yet unfinished course that will go entirely around the San Francisco Bay Area in California. When complete, it will have a length of over 500 miles. As the bay itself is ringed by hills typically a few thousand feet high, the trail, as its name suggests, can often run along ridges that provide commanding views of the region. As of this writing, the trail is incomplete but comprises more than 300 miles in existing parks and some urban areas. Detailed information on the trail can be found at ridgetrail.org, the website of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council.
I will be taking each section on foot. The trail route attempts to allow access for hikers on foot, bicyclists, and equestrians whenever possible, but hikers have access to more of the trails. I am not attempting to walk the whole trail at once. These will almost always be medium-length day trips for me, which means only a few miles of trail at a time. Often there is additional hiking or other travel involved in reaching the start of the trail (or in getting back from the end). I won’t be going into too much detail on that, but it does affect the amount of distance I can cover in one of these day trips.
As the trail is highly fragmented, I will also make mention of the existing gaps in the trail, and explore possible routes for connecting between them in their present state. Although there is a plan in place for the eventual trail, I won’t necessarily be using that to bridge the gaps, especially since in some cases this would cross private land. If I feel a need to scout these alternate paths I will usually be biking them, because they cover longer distances and require more road travel than the already-established trails.