East Bay Hills Trails Benefit Ride

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East Bay Hills Trails Ride Photo credit: Nick Lammers

The 15th Annual East Bay Hills Trails Benefit Ride offers the opportunity to ride up to 100 miles on the East Bay’s finest single track trails and fire roads while camping out in 3 locations from August 30 to September 6th this year. Ride as much or as little as you want each day in small groups at your own pace on the Bay Area Ridge Trail while traversing the redwoods, grasslands, oak and bay laurel forests of the East Bay and enjoying the vistas of San Francisco Bay on a horseback riding vacation.

Horseback riders camp at the ES Anderson Equestrian Camp in Tilden Regional Park, at Sequoia Arena in Joaquin Miller Park and at Bort Meadow in Anthony Chabot Regional Park, allowing trail rides from the Richmond Hills to Castro Valley, including trails in Wildcat Canyon, Tilden Park, over the Caldecott Tunnel on East Bay Municipal District watershed land, through Sibley Volcanic Preserve, Huckleberry Botanic Preserve, Redwood Regional Park, Robert’s Recreation Area, and Anthony Chabot Regional Park, including Lake Chabot. The $70/day fee, with a discount available for those riding all 6 days, includes 6 days of meals, camping, trail maps and directions, showers at all the campsites, smoothies from the Human Powered Blender, available massage each afternoon, and evening entertainment and educational programs.

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Horseback riding in the East Bay Hills

Some riders, from all around the Bay Area, Northern California and further afield, make it a week-long horseback riding vacation every year, while others just come to unwind on the trails for 2-3 days at one campsite. Volunteers help with the meals, camp set-up and drive shuttles that enable you to move your trailer from one camp to the next, and then go back and ride your horse over. The evening programs this year will include a visit to Chabot Space and Science, across the street from Sequoia Arena, for a free look at the stars through the largest telescopes West of the Mississippi available for public viewing, an equestrian performance in the arena, a wilderness survival presentation, an equestrian program and more.

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Climbing Bishop’s Walk on horseback

Camp opens on Tuesday afternoon, August 30, and the ride begins the next day, and then continues through Labor Day. Saturday night there is a silent auction and a raffle, where everyone is guaranteed to win a prize. Event proceeds benefit the Bay Area Ridge Trail, Volunteers for Outdoor California, and other EB trail projects; in 14 years, the event has donated over $230,000 to benefit local trails. The concurrent 5-day East Bay Hills Trails Benefit Hike, covering 55 miles on trails between Martinez and Castro Valley, offers the opportunity for your non-riding family and friends to join you on the trail for as long as they, and you, can. Volunteers needed, and visitors are welcome to join for dinner. Registration is online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-east-bay-hills-trails-benefit-ride-tickets

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Horses on trail. Photo credit: Jay Fowler

Comments from equestrians who’ve joined past East Bay Hills Trails Ride:

• Very clearly marked maps plus written trail directions for the beautiful and varied trails.
• Welcoming and inclusive camaraderie among the group
• Vacation with my horse, catered meals, wonderful riding through redwoods, grasslands and oak forest…this is paradise!” “I LOVE the camaraderie, of this ride and look forward to it every year.”
• This was my first time attending this event and I was blown away by how well it was organized. From the hikes to the meals to the shuttles … you guys did an incredible job and I look forward to next years event!
• A great stay-cation and opportunity to enjoy our local parks! Count me in for next year’s ride
• It was an experience of a lifetime and I am so happy I was able to participate this year. A big Thank you to all of the cooks, and volunteers
• A wonderful event with fabulous organization, great food and great people; both participants and volunteers!
• This is a unique and fun event and I look forward to it each year.

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Riding in the Redwoods

If You Go:
East Bay Hills Trail Benefit Ride http://www.twha.org/ebride/ride.html

This is a guest post by equestrian and horse lover Morris Older. For additional information on the East Bay Hills Benefit Ride contact Morris at (925) 254-8943