Bobbing four miles past oak, eucalyptus, and conifer groves, the paved Nimitz Way hugs the eastern edge of Tilden Regional Park as it heads north along the San Pablo Ridge and into Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. Begin your walk at east-facing Inspiration Point, where you can take in vistas of tree-dappled hills, a glinting San Pablo Reservoir, and the stately Mount Diablo. Then look for the two stone columns that mark the trail’s southern entrance. The wide, tree- and hill-flanked path offers stunning views of the San Francisco Bay. One of the best perches is the Rotary Peace Grove Lookout, with a turnoff just before the two-mile marker. Nimitz is also a prime route for spotting birds of prey such as hawks and migrating golden eagles.
From an old wooden caboose to giant ceramic “freaks,” yard adornments in Berkeley go beyond flower beds and red-capped garden gnomes (though there are plenty of those, too). Since 2013, longtime resident Tom Dalzell has been on a mission to catalog the city’s street-facing eccentricities on his website, Quirky Berkeley.
“There still is a freeness here—a whimsy, a creativity—where people will make a lovely mailbox or make sculptures in their front yard,” he says. You can see what makes Berkeley so wonderfully weird on this self-guided walk through the northwest part of the city. Along the way, you’ll find a beach-trash sculpture garden, a garage-door mural of stabled zebra, and other whimsical delights.