Mother’s Day Hike: Knowland Park
For Mother’s Day weekend we took the kids on a hike and to get in some geocaching at Knowland park, just a walk away from where I grew up in the Oakland Hills behind the Oakland Zoo. I never even knew these hidden open spaces were available until a few weeks ago. Oh how I wish it did. But, luckily enough we were able to enjoy it for a few hours during our family adventure. It used to be a State Park until the city took it over and just last year, decided upon a zoo expansion. Boo…
First off, it is peaceful. No one else in sight. If you go up Malcolm Avenue and turn left at Ettrick, there’s a fire road that is accessible from the residential area. After finding a spot in front of someone’s house, we walked past the gate to find vast amounts of open space and yellowish-green hillsides. As we walked about a two-block distance, the shrubs and grass start to turn full green.
We headed off the trail to a clump of rocks covered in daisies where our first cache was hidden. It was hard to not notice how these tall grasslands held sprigs of wildflowers which popped up as we made our way through. Once we reached our destination, we began searching for the cache, and getting distracted bouldering the sides of the rock formations and getting into the different cave areas and curious nooks.
After finding the first cache (yay!) we came together for a family photo and headed toward the Zoo boundary where there is physical expansion taking place beyond the fenced off area. After going off-trail for another half mile or so, we came across some old trees where our second cache was placed, but instead of finding it, we ended up observing several ladybugs and beetles under logs and decaying wood. There was also poison oak lurking so of course we chanted “leaves of three, let them be” several times.
Once we got back on one of the fire road and headed in the direction we started off, the hills were getting smaller in proportion to the views where you can see all of Oakland and all the way out to San Francisco. Kicking myself not knowing about this place growing up, but grateful for experiencing it now and share with you! We continued to find other caches in the area in between finding ways to entertain a worn-out toddler at this point.
While the park itself used to be an arboretum, after being turned over to the city, the zoo has battled over expanding its property into Knowland Park and it is now a reality.
Such special places like this should be available for anyone and my hope is by writing about it, more people will visit and explore, then support it. To keep up with the expansion and any news regarding the park, visit Save Knowland Park. There’s also some trail maps on the site that are helpful since there weren’t any trail posts that I could see. If you haven’t tried geocaching yet, be sure to download the app or read my last post on our experience if you want to get a feel on what it is. We cannot wait to come back here and explore more–maybe go for a sunrise hike to see that epic Easy Bay view from a hidden spot in the hills. Let us know if you decide to check out this hidden gem and tag us on Instagram using #raisingkidswild.
I hope you all had an amazing Mother’s Day. Happy adventuring!