Family Friendly Biking: Garin Dry Creek Regional Park

My family has been visiting Garin Dry Creek Regional Park for many years primarily to hike and see implosions, but recently we have taken up mountain biking here.  Garin Dry Creek has some really steep hills in the east side of the park, but you can find some rolling hills perfect for kids and new mountain bikers.

Over the years. I have noticed that my kids can bike in about 500 ft elevation increments, so I've broken up this ride in two sections.  My eldest son, who is 8 years old can ride these sections in one ride (see the last map).  These trails can be ridden separately or together, since they both start at the same trailhead.  Give the kids a little taste of the dirt riding at Garin Dry Creek!

Tolman Peak Trail

MIleage: 3.9 Miles
Elevation Gain: 399 Ft
Trail Type: Fire road on an Out-and-Back Trail
Points of Interest: Pond, and 2 (two) Rocky Creek Crossings

At the end of South Fork Trail

At the end of South Fork Trail

Trailhead: The Trailhead begins at the "May Rd" Entrance in Union City, if you need an address enter (320 May Rd, Union City, CA 94587). If you GPS to "Garin Regional Park" it will take you to the main entrance which is the incorrect location.  Head towards the May Trail and not the Dry Creek Cottage.   There are bathrooms and a kiosk with maps at the parking lot but no water.

The Ride:  Starting on May Trail, the ride pretty much goes to the most southern part of the Dry Creek Regional Park.  There is a pond along the way and two creek crossings that might have water in it depending on the time of year.  Since the ride is an out-and-back trail, the ride out is a gradual uphill of 399 ft but then on the return the trail all down hill.  During the raining season, the trails may be too muddy to ride.

Trail Directions: May Trail for .12 miles - North on High Ridge Loop Trail for 0.32 miles - South on Tolman Peak Trail for 0.88 miles - South on South Fork Trail for 0.6 miles.  The return is the reverse order.

Ridge View Trail

Mileage: 3.8 Miles
Elevation Gain: 505 Ft
Trail Type: Fire road on an Out-and-Back Trail
Points of Interest: Views of the Bay Area

Ridge Viewl Trail

Ridge Viewl Trail

Trailhead: Parking lot and trailhead the same the previous section.

The Ride:  Starting on May Trail, heads towards the north part Garin Regional Park near the main entrance.  The initial climb on Hide Ridge Loop Trail is a steep with about a 300 ft climb, but it takes you to the ridge.  Once on the ridge there are multiple trails to take which mostly all lead you to the same intersections, some harder or easier than others.  Ride past the Apple Orchards and old farming machines on Ridge View Trail until you hit the Garin Avenue and return to enjoy rollers on the way back down.  

Trail Directions: May Trail for .12 miles - South on High Ridge Loop Trail for 1.17 miles - North on Ridge view Trail.  The return is the reverse order.

Tolman Peak & Ridge View Trail

I ride the two sections above in one ride with my son and actual elevation gain was almost 1,000 ft.  I like to head to the southern part of the park first so our legs can get warmed up before climbing up on Ridge View Trail.  I also like doing the "flatter part" first so my kids don't get dejected immediately if a climb seems too hard.

NOTE: Since this is an out-and-back trail, you can always turn around at any point.  Bikes are not allowed on the single-track section of the South-Fork Trail to Tolman Peak, which is CRAZY steep anyways. 

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