Named for the Ohlone Indians who once lived in the area, this trail doubles as a commuting corridor and a recreation destination for the cities of Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito. While the Ohlone Greenway is certainly an urban trail, it weaves together a number of parks and green spaces, community gardens and interpretive kiosks to create a pleasurable and informative trail experience. The greenway's smooth asphalt surface makes it suitable for a variety of users.
The Ohlone Greenway begins at the east end of Ohlone Park in Berkeley and runs westward. Soon after setting off you reach a dog park. Like a number of progressive ideas coming from Berkeley, this park is the first of its kind in the country. Beyond the dog park, the trail corridor opens up to a width of about 100 feet. This broad linear park hosts a number of attractions, including a playground, a community garden, exercise equipment, interactive public art and a variety of trees and foliage. This section of the trail gets quite a bit of traffic.
As the trail exits the park and crosses Sacramento Street near the North Berkeley BART station, it becomes an on-street bike path. Make a right on Acton Street and reconnect with the off-street path near the corner of Acton and Virginia streets. You'll pass a community garden and interpretive signs about the trail and the Ohlone people.
For several miles after this point, you will be riding beside or underneath the elevated BART tracks. The trail, with separate cycling and walking paths in most sections, runs through the towns of Albany and El Cerrito, passing the El Cerrito Plaza and El Cerrito del Norte BART stations. From willows to mature oaks, trees line much of the greenway, enhancing the natural setting and reminding you of the diversity of Northern California's flora.
At the trail's end you reach San Pablo Avenue at Baxter Creek Gateway Park in El Cerrito. The park, a restored urban riparian area, features an amazing diversity of plants and animals in a modestly sized area, including red flowering currant, willows, alder trees, bigleaf maples and Pacific tree frogs. With an assortment of benches, it's a nice place to relax before heading back on the Ohlone Greenway. Alternatively, you can carry on along the Richmond Greenway
To reach the trailhead by car from San Francisco, take the Bay Bridge to Interstate 80 East. From I-80 take the University Avenue Exit toward Berkeley. Continue on University for 2 miles. Turn left on Martin Luther King, Jr., Way. Continue 2 blocks to Hearst Avenue. The trailhead is located at the entrance to Ohlone Park on the northwest corner of Martin Luther King, Jr., Way and Hearst Street. Park on the street.
If you prefer to use public transportation, the Ohlone Greenway can be accessed from the North Berkeley, El Cerrito Plaza and El Cerrito del Norte BART stations, but be careful to learn about BART regulations if you're bringing your bike.