One of the three oldest parks in the East Bay Regional Park District, Tilden Park spans over 2,000 acres across the city of Orinda. Visit the park to explore its beautiful nature preserves and take part in the many recreational activities it has to offer, nestled between Berkeley Hills and the San Pablo Ridge.
Once upon a time, before Spanish explorers and Mexican ranchers took over the area, the land where Tilden Park now stands was home to the Ohlone tribe. The land became a ranching ground, and plantations of eucalyptus were planted around it in 1910. In 1936, in order to turn it into a public park, originally called Upper Wildcat Canyon, the East Bay Regional Park District bought the land. Later, after the first president of the Park District's Board of Directors, the park was renamed Charles Lee Tilden Regional Park, and over $63,000 was allocated to develop the park.
The Golden Gate International Exposition took place in 1939, and at Tilden Park, the championship cricket matches were held. The south end of the park served as the Grizzly Peak VHF Station for the period of World War II, beginning in 1944, which oversaw the command of the air defense radar sites of Northern California. Throughout the Cold War, more of the park was used for air defense, before control was finally given back to the Park District in 1959. Since then, the park has been redeveloped to incorporate a wide variety of recreational facilities.
Things To Do & See
Tilden Park is home to a multitude of family-friendly activities, including pony rides, a model airplane field, tennis courts, a merry-go-round, a trout fishing pond, a golf course, a botanical garden, a steam train railway, a model farm, an environmental education building, the Brazilian Room for events, and more, in addition to natural features such as exotic trees and coastal scrub.
The 300-meter Lake Anza, where visitors can swim (seasonally), relax on a sandy beach, or take advantage of the nearby picnic facilities, is one of the best places in the park to visit. The lake is also followed by Lake Anza Beach Café. Also accessible by trail in the park is a second, smaller body of water, named Jewel Lake.
Other popular ways to explore the park include hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The park offers a wide range of trails, including the Meadows Canyon-Curran-Wildcat Canyon loop, the East Bay Skyline Ridge Trail, Nimitz Way, and South Park Drive, which are the most popular. Spectacular views of the Bay Area are offered by many trails, and most are also dog-friendly.
Picnicking and camping are common activities here, in addition to exploring the park grounds. In addition to even more non-reservable ones, 13 reservable picnic areas are spread around the park. There are also three campsites, including New Woodland, Youth Camp Gillespie, and Equestrian Camp Es Anderson.
This amazing park is located near the following amazing must-see sites in Orinda, California:
- Orinda Oaks Park
- Briones Overlook Staging Area
- Mulholland Ridge Open Space
- Siesta Valley Recreation Area
- Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Labyrinth
- Seaview Trailhead
- Orinda Park and Recreation Foundation
- Briones Regional Park
All of these wonderful points of interest are located just a short distance from our location, conveniently located just down the freeway at 1261 Locust St, Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!