Idioms, Expressions, Vocabulary International Student Life The Bay Area

Hiking in the Bay Area + Hiking Vocabulary in English

April 13, 2017

Spring is here: it’s time to enjoy the beautiful California weather! IEC@DVC students can go hiking in many local parks. Get your hiking shoes: we are exploring nature in the Bay Area!

Some tips before hiking: be sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and pack some snacks! Also make sure that your phone is charged . . . and always hike with a friend!

Hiking in the Bay Area

Beautiful Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. 

Angel Island

Angel Island is a California State Park and an island in the San Francisco Bay. It is called the “Ellis Island of the West” because it was the first stop in the U.S. for many immigrants. You can learn about its history during your visit.

From higher places on the island, hikers have beautiful views of the city: on a clear day, you can also see Napa, Sonoma, and San Jose! Students can also hike Mount Livermore for beautiful views: watch this Angel Island’s video for inspiration.

Hiking Mt. Livermore On Angel Island from The California Parks Company on Vimeo.

To get to Angel Island, take the Blue and Gold Fleet from Pier 41. The ride is about 30 minutes and costs $8.50 on weekdays and $17 on weekends. You can purchase tickets online or you can buy them at Pier 41.

Tilden Regional Park

Tilden Regional Park is located in beautiful Berkeley. It has a nature park, a lake, a golf course, a train, and a botanic garden that has all of California’s native plants. It’s a great place to visit when in Berkeley! The park’s 39 miles of trails are perfect for hiking and biking. Check out the views in the video below.

To get to Tilden Park, visit the park’s webpage about using public transit (and also check out IEC@DVC’s article on Bay Area Public Transport)! Before visiting, download the maps of the hikes you can take in the area.

Jack London State Park

This park is on a large piece of land that author Jack London (The Call of the Wild) bought. Visitors to this famous writer’s old property can hike, picnic . . . even ride horses! With a free tour, visitors learn about London’s life and visit his grave. After touring the area, hikers have three options: a short (1/2 mile) hike, a two-hour hike, or a more difficult hike that ends on the top of Sonoma Mountain and has beautiful views of the Sonoma Valley.

Jack London State Park is located in Glen Ellen (close to Sonoma) and is about an hour drive from IEC@DVC. 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442  (707) 938-5216

Mount Diablo State Park

Hikers have many choices for trails at Mount Diablo State Park! The popular website Bay Area Hiker offers four hikes (and includes some great photos). The Mount Diablo Interpretive Association has seven suggested hikes and does a great job of listing the hike lengths and difficulties.

Before hiking, learn a little about the park’s history with this brochure:

Mount Diablo Brochure

Are you a flower lover? You can download Mount Diablo’s wildflower identification guide to learn about the beautiful flowers you see during your hike. 

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park includes rolling hills, wide and clean trails, and many  beautiful views. Learn all about the park on the East Bay Regional Park District website! If you visit the park in the spring, download the park’s Wildflower Identification Guide.

Beautiful Pleasanton Ridge. Do you know what a “ridge” is? (It’s a word to desribe the top of a hill.) 

More information

For the year of 2017, the East Bay Regional Park District is organizing a District Trails Challenge. This event encourages people to see as many trails as possible in the East Bay Area. For more information, check out these excellent resources:

Hiking Vocabulary in English 

Do you know these vocabulary words related to hiking? Some of these were used in the article!


Definition: a tool that shows north, south, east, and west.

Example: I used my compass to help read the trail map.

A traditional compass. These days, most people just use the compass on their smartphone! 


Definition: covered in dust (dust is a fine powder of dirt).

Example: The trail was clean but very dusty. Now we are all covered in dust!


Definition: equipment/tools needed.

Example: Did you pack all of your hiking gear?


Definition: full of water; not thirsty (when describing a person).

Example: Make sure you stay hydrated when you’re hiking!

Note: we also use the word “dehydrated” when a person’s body is without the proper amount of water. We often use the collocations “stay hydrated” or “keep hydrated.”


Definition: a mix of water and dirt.  

Example: There was a lot of mud on the trail because it rained yesterday.

Note: the adjective is “muddy.”


Definition: something that is originally from an area.

Example: I learned a lot about California’s native plants and animals during my hike.

The California Poppy is native to the state (and is the official state flower). During the spring, you can see them everywhere!

Park ranger

Definition: an employee whose job is to protect the park and its nature, keep the park clean, and help visitors.

Example: We received a wonderful tour from the park ranger. He taught us about the area’s plants and animals.

Park rangers are friendly and helpful.


Definition: a piece of protected land.

Example: There is a nature reserve near our house where many birds live. It’s beautiful and peaceful.

To trek/Trekking

Definition: a synonym for “hiking.” Trekking is often used for more difficult trips and hiking is often used for easier, more casual walks in nature.

Example: We trekked through the forest for three days!


Definition: the path or road (usually dirt) that you walk.

Example: The trail is really clean and easy to follow.

What a beautiful trail!

To slip

Definition: to slide or fall for a short distance.

Example: I was looking at my map and I slipped and fell! But I’m OK.


Definition: an adjective to describe stairs, hills, roads, etc. that rise or fall quickly (and are difficult to go up or down because they are steep).

Example: The trail was steep, but the views were beautiful at the top of the mountain.

It was a steep hike to see this view!


Definition: the wild animals that live in the area.

Example: If you want to see a lot of wildlife, plan your hike for early in the morning.

Are you ready to go hiking? Post pictures of your hikes on the IEC@DVC Facebook page!

Pleasanton Ridge photo from John K on Flickr. All other photos from Pixabay. 


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