One of the few trails managed by the East Bay Municipality Utility District that allows hound-dog hikers, the Oursan Trail is a little-known Orinda, CA gem. Also known as the Bear Creek Trail, it features fabulous views of a reservoir. You’ll find limited parking at the trailhead on Bear Creek Road, but while it’s free to leave your car there, a permit is required to use the trail. You can get one on the EBMUD website, at a cost of $3 for a day permit. Be sure to sign in at the kiosk by the trailhead! The route is nowhere near as pawpular as it should be, so this is an ideal walk for pups and people seeking a little solitude.
The Oursan Trail makes for a seriously scenic hike! The route winds its way along the Briones Reservoir near Briones Regional Park. Not only will you be treated to the sight of the vast, serene lake, you’ll also wander through oak -wooded wonderland and past pastoral landscapes. If you can, visit in spring, when the California Poppies, lupines and buttercups burst into a riot of color. Avid birders might also be glad to know that the area around the trail is home to wood ducks, vultures, grebes, jays and a whole host of other species of feathered friends.
The Oursan Trail is rated as an easy hike. There are some gentle inclines, but barring serious mobility issues, this should be a fun walk for fitter four-pawed pals and laid-back lap dogs alike! Part of the route is paved asphalt, but the rest is dirt road -- be sure to look up a map before you go if the surface is likely to pose a problem. In terms of facilities, there are restrooms at the Bear Creek Staging Area and Briones Staging Area. Remember to bring bags and water, and have a furrific time on the trail!