Welcome to East Bay Trails.com!

The mission of East Bay Trails.com is to showcase trails and nature in the San Francisco East Bay and around the world.  I believe the path to health and wellness lies in exploring nature, especially through hiking.  Through photography, video, news and information, my goal is to share what I've seen so that people become motivated to explore nature, and through that effort, become healthier.  

I incorporate Google Earth flyovers in my hike reviews. If you don't see the flyovers, get the Google Earth plugin here.

Enjoy the site and thank you for visiting.

Paul Salemme

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Ghosts of the Glacier

What grows on land that has been under a glacier for thousands of years?  The land around the Mendenhall Glacier has been frozen and buried under tons of ice and rock as recently as last century.

Marker indicating the tip of the glacier in 1920.

As the glacier receded, and the cold, barren ground was exposed, new growth started.It starts with mosses and alder, and continues with Lupine, which gives the newly exposed land vital nutrients. 

Flowering Lupine

This hike was part of a longer excursion, led by Hugh Carey of Gastineau Guiding.  Hugh is a great photographer and guide, and gave us a lot of information about the location and history of the glacier.  We started the day with a whale watching trip, and finished with this brief tour of the trails around the Glacier.  This area is part of the Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the U.S., and the largest intact temperate rain forest in the world.  

The forest around the glacier is full of mystery.  Moss smothers old trees and hangs off branches,  life grows upon life, and everything seems to be stretching and reaching as though it were trying to make up for lost time. 

What do you see?

Some of the giant boulders have been carried by the glacier from places up to 8 miles away.  They lay where the glacier left them a few hundred years ago.

The trail is mostly gravel in this section.

As I hiked, I became more aware of the interesting and unusual shapes created by the decaying trees and shaggy moss.  A slight breeze lifted branches and ferns, and they bobbed like nodding heads as we walked by.  There seemed to be a deeper chill in the air, as though the glacier left its unseen mood behind. 



The vibrancy of the forest floor made it seem like a sea of green flowed around the base of the trees.  

The forest consumed itself, recapturing organic material and breaking it down to be reused.  The whole place seemed like a voracious, slow motion meal.  

At the end of our short hike, we saw the glacier, off in the distance.  It looked harmless from where we were, but was once two miles thick at the place I took this picture.

The lake in front of the glacier is icy cold and filled with the silt of crushed rocks and boulders.  Smaller chunks of the glacier that have broken off (called calving) float in the lake. (Watch this interesting YouTube video of a glacier calving.) 

There was a lot to see and experience in this short hike.  For more information about the Tongass National Forest, please see the links below.

Be safe!

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Information

Trail Maps and Publications, and information about Tongass

Day Hiking Trails

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Alaskan Trails

Since I've been doing some traveling, I haven't had much time to post.  I'll write more about these places later, but I wanted to share some scenes of Alaskan Trails.  

First, I went on a short, guided hike to Mendenhall Glacier.  What you'll see in these images is the growth that comes after a glacier recedes.  

The surrounding forest was lush and vibrant.  

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The next group of images are from the Tongass National Forest.  We hiked the Denver Glacier Trail, and walked through some amazing old growth forest.  These are probably my favorite images since I started this project.  


The beauty inspired me, so there are a lot of pictures.  

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Rocky Ridge Loop Trail

On the East Bay Mud Trail Map, the Ramage Peak Trail starts at the Chabot staging area.  When you start the hike, you only see the sign for the Rocky Ridge Loop Trail.

Trail marker by the sign in box

This is the only trail marker, but continue on here for either an out and back loop or a shorter out and back hike. I tried to find the trail marked "Trail" on the map, the one that juts out, heading east, then south.  At .9 miles, there was a trail marker with an arrow continuing the route, but no sign of the trail that leads nowhere.  I guess that will be a mystery.  


The first part of the hike is under a nice canopy.  After a normal winter, you would see some nice streams on this hike as well, but this season they were dry.


Even though we had a somewhat dry winter, there is still a lot of vibrant growth under the canopy.

There are mostly Oaks and Bays in this forest. You'll see a few Redwoods, but they're smallThe trail starts to open up at about .9 miles, and you'll start a fairily steep climb.  I don't know if it was the weather or if I just looked like a tasty morsel, but the flies were on me during the climb.  The wind and little bit of rain seemed to chase them away at times, but there were a lot of them.   

The trail opens up and you start your climb to the ridge line



For this hike, go as long as you want, then turn around.  Or, continue and do the Rocky Ridge Loop.  If you do the whole loop it would be about a 12.5 mile hike, according to the map.  Much of it would be on the ridge line without shade, so bring a lot of water and nourishment.     

This is a majestic tree you'll see coming and going


Not too far from the Christmas tree far, the light was hitting the trail nicelyI suggest this hike for exercise and/or contemplation.  The trail is well marked, and there is parking and a bathroom at the trailhead.  You'll need a permit from EB Mud.  

Enjoy and be safe!

Trail Map/Permit

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Route and Stats:


Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRun



Emerald Bay to Eagle Lake - South Lake Tahoe

Last Saturday, after the trails conference, I got up early to watch the sunrise over Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe.  It was a beautiful scene.

The sun rose just before 6am, and I climbed up on to the rocks at the Vikingsholm parking area (in Emerald Bay State Park.) to take a few shots. My plan was to hike up to Eagle Lake.  It's not a long hike, and I wanted to take some pictures before the light got too harsh.  After a few more shots of the sunrise, I turned my attention to Lower Eagle Falls.  You can hear the roar quite clearly from up above, and when the dawn light hit the falls, it was a spectacular sight.

Lower Eagle Falls is right next to Highway 89, and I walked down the road, climbed down a bit and took some closer pictures of the falls.

Just across the street from the falls is the trailhead for the hike to Eagle Lake.  At the Harvey West Parking Area, there is a $10 fee, but at the Eagle Falls trailhead, it's only $5.  

Park here, and start your hike.

From this trailhead, you can hike deep into the Desolation Wilderness.  The hike to Eagle Lake is less than 3 miles round trip, and the Eagle Loop is an even shorter hike.  

You'll need to fill out a trail permit.  These permits are important in case something happens, and rescuers need to find you.  There is no fee for the permit.

Take the steps to your left and start your climb here.

Soon, you'll reach the upper falls.  Take a moment to enjoy this experience, then cross the bridge and continue on to Eagle Lake.

Upper Eagle Falls

View from the bridge across Upper Eagle Falls.

Building this trail must have been a lot of work, as there are plenty of stone steps along the way.

Never hike in to a place called "Desolation Wilderness" without a map!It had rained earlier in the week, so parts of the trail were wet and/or flooded.  However, it was all easily passable.

After a winter with heavy snow, this trail would probably still have some accumulation.  This year, the snow fall was light, and I only saw a few lingering drifts.  

The trees were stretching after their winter slumber.Hiking on this kind of heavily technical trail (a trail with a lot of rocks, roots, etc.) requires a lot of work, but it's great exercise.

The trail was well marked. Follow the signs to Eagle Lake.Keep an eye out for the elf house.

At about .8 of a mile, you'll see the little lake.

First view of the lake. 

When I arrived at the lake, the bright dawn light was fully on me.  This is the primary source of Eagle falls, and here is the water starting its journey to the falls:


 I followed the trail around part of the lake to get a better vantage point. 

 Eagle Lake

There is a little island on the lakeTake a little time to enjoy the scene.  When I went, there were only a few people around.  However, I've read that this route gets very busy in the summer.  

The walk back is downhill and easy.  Enjoy the views and watch the rocks.

Total Mileage: 2.30 miles

State Park Site (Emerald Bay State Park) 


Trail Map options  (I used this one, picked up at REI)

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Travemunde and Priwall, Germany

While on vacation, I searched (Googled) for local trails in northern Germany and came across the E9 Trail.  Unfortunately, no one I asked seemed to know what I was talking about.  So, I traveled up to Travemunde and tried to find it myself.  What I found was a nude beach and a few old guys wandering around willing to bare it all in 40 degree Baltic weather.  No, I didn't get shots of them, but I did stumble on a few worthwhile trails.  

Taking a stroll in PriwallThe Germans love their dogs and their bikes.  It was great to see dogs everywhere, and nobody left their dog poop bags on the trail!  This was not a hike as much as it was a stroll.  The day was cool, but the bright sun had lots of sun deprived northern Germans outside.  I wandered around the little Priwall peninsula for a while.  Priwall is in what used to be East Germany.  30 years ago, when I last visited Eastern Europe, I was retained briefly as a suspected US spy. (No, I was just a naive college kid.)  It was nice to travel here and not be concerned about saying, writing or photographing the wrong things.  

Nice views of the countryside from the trail.So, I wandered around carrying my camera and tripod to the bemused looks of the locals.  The trails were wide, friendly and peaceful.  The trees were just starting to bud with spring's blooms, and the sun's warmth made the walk very enjoyable.  Anytime you are travelling, take some time to find local trails.  

Bikes are more common than hikers on the trails.

I'm looking forward to the Calfornia Trails conference this week.  My session will be Thursday morning at 9:45, if you can attend.  See you there!


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