Ohlone Greenway


5 Reviews

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Ohlone Greenway Facts

States: California
Counties: Alameda, Contra Costa
Length: 5.3 miles
Trail end points: Martin Luther King, Jr. Way at Hearst Ave (Berkeley) and Richmond Greenway & San Pablo Ave, 190 feet north of Ohio St(El Cerrito)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015310

Ohlone Greenway Description

The Ohlone Greenway waltzes through the Bay Area cities of Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito for 5.3 miles with its partner, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Doubling as a commuter and recreation route through the urban setting, the trail is named for the Indigenous people who once lived throughout Central California’s coastal areas.

The paved trail links several parks and community gardens, as well as business districts with opportunities for refreshments. The ever-present elevated BART tracks lead to three stations, where bicyclists and walkers can board trains to destinations anywhere on the 130-mile system.

The greenway right-of-way dates back to the 1880s, when it was a transportation corridor for several railroads. One of these, the Key System, rolled through Berkeley to the San Francisco Bay ferry crossing in Emeryville. Separately, the California & Mt. Diablo Railroad ran through the corridor on narrow-gauge tracks laid in the 1880s. Eventually, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (often referred to as Santa Fe) gained control in 1903 and widened the tracks to handle commonly sized freight cars running between Richmond and Oakland. Santa Fe stopped using the tracks in the late 1970s.

The trail starts in the south at linear Ohlone Park, which is situated along four blocks of Hearst Avenue, in one of Berkeley’s oldest neighborhoods, within a half mile of the University of California, Berkeley’s campus. Initially slated for apartments in the incendiary late 1960s, the space was turned over to the city after activists planted sod and trees and set up camp in protest. You’ll find an off-leash dog park (one of the nation’s first), exercise equipment, a playground, and a community garden here.

The North Berkeley BART station complex interrupts the greenway after a half mile at Sacramento Street. To reach the off-road trail again, take Delaware Street one block west, turn north on Acton Street, go one block, and return to the trail at the northwest corner of Virginia and Acton Streets. (Separated bike lanes to connect the trail segments are scheduled to be installed through the BART complex by mid-2023.)

The greenway continues through neighborhoods and commercial areas in a northwesterly direction. Unlike the BART tracks passing overhead, the greenway is impeded by stops at frequent major street crossings. You’ll find eateries and shopping at the Solano Avenue intersection in Albany, about 1.3 miles north of Berkeley.

After passing through Albany, the greenway arrives at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station in about a mile. It’s another 2 miles through commercial and residential areas to the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station. The Ohlone Greenway ends in a half mile at Baxter Creek Gateway Park, where it seamlessly joins the 3-mile Richmond Greenway.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at BART stations along the route. Fees are charged Monday–Friday, 4am–3pm. Parking is free on weekends and BART holidays. Refer to the BART parking guide for more information. 

Street parking is available in Berkeley/Albany on Masonic Avenue, between Santa Fe Avenue and Brighton Avenue.

Visit the TrailLink map for exact locations and detailed directions.

Ohlone Greenway Reviews

Mostly good for roller skating, but the start leaves a lot to be desired

This is one of the best trails to roller skate in the Berkeley area, but lord if it isn’t tough the first half of the trail before you get to Albany—the pavement leaves a LOT to be desired, particularly by the westbrae nursery, and there’s ADA bumps/crosswalks every few hundred feet. However, I’ve found the last 3 miles or so are good for roller skating if you can endure the first part, and it’s easy to skate over/around the ADA bumps in the road.

Improves Community

The start of the trail in Berkeley leaves much to be desired. A clean up and improvements to update the trail for overall safety and as a community attraction is needed. Better signage should be mandatory. Almost gave this trail a 3 star rating but soon as you are in the Albany/El Cerrito areas the environment is different in a very good way - well maintained, clean, no vagrants ( I rode the trail midday on a Sunday) , used by pedestrians & cyclists. Evidently enjoyed by the community. Being right next to BART is a plus - helpful for commuters and cyclists wanting to explore other areas.

not good for skating

I've tried skating this trail a few times but the trail crosses a street every few hundred feet. It is difficult to cross the streets because the trail changes from a asphalt to bumpy material that can throw you off balance and make you fall.


Commute or Exercize under BART Tracks

The majority of this trail is under the elevated BART Tracks in Albany and El Cerrito. It is a great route for commuting since it goes through so many neighborhoods and its relative length. The trail has beautiful landscaping for the most part. You wont find sweeping bay views that you find on the Bay trail for example. In most places there are seperate paths for bicycles and pedestrians.
In the City of Berkeley, the right of way has a few gaps and it is necessary to ride on streets, particularly near North Berkeley BART.

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