Welcome to the El Cerrito Trail Trekkers Home Page

The El Cerrito Trail Trekkers formed in order to build, maintain, publicize and use the little known urban trails of El Cerrito, California. You can support us by  joining or donating, or you can keep up with our progress by getting on our email list.  Read more about us here. Follow us on Twitter @ECTrailTrekkers or Facebook . Read about our accomplishments in 2018 and our goals for 2019 here.

Tom Gehling and Susan Schwartz flag areas of native habitat

Tom Gehling and Susan Schwartz flag areas of native habitat

Warning: Fire Roads will temporarily close for repairs.

Good news: The work will benefit fire safety and preserve native habitat.

Crews were set to start work this Monday, Aug. 12, on repairs to several of the fire roads in the Hillside Natural Area. The work is expected to continue through Sept. 2. Roads will temporarily be blocked to hikers and bikers at different times during the work.

Signs will warn Hillside users when work is in progress; crews have been told to remove the signs when trails are open.

The work is partially funded through a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, and will repair erosion and other damages in part caused by severe winter weather in 2017. Repairs will make it easier for firefighting equipment to serve the area.

City officials gave Trekkers a heads up, so we surveyed the area to make sure that work would not damage sensitive native habitat. It was great watching Susan Schwartz  of Friends of Five Creeks, and Tom Gehling of Trekkers investigate the route and discuss the areas of intact native habitat along the roads.

Our vice president, Pam Austin, conveyed what we learned to city officials – who took this information and walked the route themselves. We appreciate the care officials are taking both to improve fire safety and use of these fire roads, while working to safeguard the Hillside’s natural treasures.

Help Us Keep Hillside Trails Passable

Please attend one or both of the following work parties, which we promise will be productive and personally fulfilling. Both are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Saturday, August 24 we will remove tall grasses and other overgrowth that is blocking passage on the Madera-Julian Trail in the Madera Open Space, and widen and smooth out the trail in sections. Meet at the end of Regency Court. For questions on either work event, davidsweinstein@yahoo.com. We provide tools.

Trail Trekkers mourns the loss of Mollie Hazen

Trekkers’ board member and communications director Mollie Hazen died on August 11, 2019, after fighting cancer for several years.

She played an important part in our organization, getting out the word about our events and focusing on how to attract more participants through social engagement.

Mollie was a savvy person, knowledgeable about state and local politics, and was very good at sizing up people and envisioning how events might play out. Her contributions to board discussions were invaluable.

Even as she grew ill, Mollie remained active not just with Trekkers, but as board president of the Kensington Symphony and a member of the city’s Crime Prevention Committee. Her energy did not flag until it was gone. Weakness, and the need for a wheelchair, did not stop her from helping run our booth at the July 4 festival.

We will miss Mollie. A memorial is being planned.

Enjoy our annual Members Appreciation Party

The leaders of Trail Trekkers enjoy meeting everyone who comes on our hikes or attends other events. Still, we especially appreciate those who go the extra step of joining Trekkers by paying $20 annually or $1,000 for a life membership.

That’s why we throw an annual love-the-members party! Want to come but you’re not a member? Join at the door. We’ll provide plenty of food and lots to drink including beer, wine and variously flavored waters. Bring food to barbecue if desired. We supply the fire. 

Trekkers members include some of the most interesting, welcoming and lively people you will ever meet.

4:30-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, in and around Arlington Park Clubhouse, 1120 Arlington Blvd. Rsvp please! davidsweinstein@yahoo.com

Volunteers carefully bag broom limbs that have seeds so the seeds will not sprout.

Volunteers carefully bag broom limbs that have seeds so the seeds will not sprout.

Successful broom pulls cleans sections of the Hillside

July 21, 2019: For well over 20 years, Friends of Five Creeks has been cleansing the Hillside Natural Area of invasive French Broom, which squeezes out native plants that would otherwise provide habitat for tiny critters.

So it’s a privilege whenever Trail Trekkers can take part on one of their clean sweeps.

Today about a dozen people from both groups removed broom from the Regency and Ridge Trail areas, pulling up both tiny baby broom plants less than two inches high, and larger plants, some reaching to six feet.

We paid heed to those with seed, carefully bagging seed-bearing limbs to prevent new growth.

It’s reaching that time of year when the ground grows hard and broom becomes harder to pull. But it came out easily enough today, thanks to weed wrenches, some borrowed from the city of El Cerrito.

Both Five Creeks and Trekkers will continue our efforts to restore habitat in the Hillside. Please join us at the next opportunity.

Now Available! El Cerrito Trail Trekkers T-shirts!

 You can now order a Trail Trekkers t-shirt at Copy Central at 1553 Solano Ave. in Berkeley. Simply talk to the manager, Gregg Schmalz, and tell him you want to have a Trail Trekkers shirt printed. It takes about 48 hours. You can have the Trail Trekkers logo printed on the front or the back of the shirt, and you can bring your own shirt (of any color, 50/50 cotton or 100% cotton) or have Copy Central supply the shirt (in white or black only). If you bring your own shirt it costs $14.95 for a white shirt and $19.95 for a colored shirt. Add $5 if Copy Central supplies the shirt. We look forward to seeing you out on the trails in your new shirt!

Hillside Festival 2019 Attracts Hundreds

Eddie Dunbar holds the attention of young and old during his erudite yet lively-for-all walk that revealed much about the amazing insects that inhabit the Hillside Natural Area.

To see many more photos of this fascinating and fun-filled event, go here.


Hillside Festival 2019 schedule is here

Hillside Festival 2019 schedule is here

Our sixth annual festival will be May 3-5 throughout the Hillside, and as always free, with events for young and old and those in between. There’s lots more information here.


Trekkers 2019 Annual Meeting

Remains of the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, photo by Dave Weinstein

Trekkers will focus on fire prevention in 2019

 Trail Trekkers kicked off its ninth year in existence last weekend with a wonderfully informative and challenging program by Cheryl Miller, executive coordinator of the Diablo Fire Safe Council, and Dave Gibson, El Cerrito’s fire marshal. The 75 people in attendance learned that wildland fires in El Cerrito and nearby threaten not only homes in the hill but those in the flatlands too. They learned about easy – and less easy – things that can be done to make their homes more fire safe. And they heard about efforts by the city and East Bay Regional Park District to reduce fire loads in the Hillside Natural Area, Wildcat and Tilden regional park, and elsewhere.

You can view Cheryl’s presentation here.

Throughout the year Trekkers will address this theme.  Working with the El Cerrito Fire Department we will present two or more “Defensible Space” hikes, with fire prevention experts pointing out how homeowners can reduce the risk of their homes catching fire by reducing vegetation, planting it in the right spots, and watching out for vents and roofline entries that make it easier for fires to start.

In addition, during our 6th annual Hillside Festival, May 3-5, the city’s fire marshal, Dave Gibson, will lead a walk in the Hillside Natural Area focusing on what the city does now to reduce fire risk there and what can be done in the future.


Update: Developer returns with plan for mansions on Fairview Open Space

After two years of silence, the group that wants to build 38 large homes on the 15-acre Fairview Open Space has submitted a new proposal to the city.

Trail Trekkers opposes any development on the site, which is the northernmost and last undeveloped section of El Cerrito’s Hillside. The area is just to the north of Motorcycle Hill, bordered by Fairview Drive, Tamalpais Avenue and the houses above on Arlington Boulevard.

The Fairview Open Space is a beautiful site featuring two creeks – one of which includes a series of scenic cascades — as well as steep slopes, some relatively flat sections, rock outcrops, and wildlife. We hope to add the land to the city’s Hillside Natural Area.

The latest development proposal resembles the last proposal, including plans for the same number of houses, which was an issue for city planners two years ago. At the staff level, the decision was made to send the previous proposal back to the developer for not complying with city ordinances or planning principles.


While differing from the last plan in providing greater distance between homes and the larger of the site’s two creeks, the new plan calls for channelizing the second creek. This would violate the city’s creek ordinance, and would also violate regional water quality rules.

We anticipate city staff will again send the plan back to the developer without bringing it before the Planning Commission.

Trekkers will continue to watch over this property, which is one of the city’s treasures, the last significant piece of undeveloped open space and habitat in our city, and a natural continuation of the Hillside Natural Area.

Four years ago Trekkers led an effort that resulted in the city buying and adding the Madera Open Space to the Hillside Area. That success owes much to the strong support of the community. We will need that support again to save the Fairview Open Space.


Trail Trekkers in the news …

Contra Costa Marketplace July 2018


Volunteers Wanted!

The Trekkers are looking for volunteers to help improve trails and continue building new ones. Let us know if you can help – contact Dave Weinstein at 510-524-1737 or davidsweinstein@yahoo.com


Motorcycle Hill steps installed!

Read about it here.


© 2019 El Cerrito Trail Trekkers Contact