From the hilltops to the waterfronts, here are three adrenaline-pumping experiences to add to your Tri-Valley bucket list.
Crawl Me, Maybe?
To see hundreds of tarantulas in search of a mate, head to Mt. Diablo. During late summer and early fall, male tarantulas scurry out of their little mountain homes during the day to find their “special someone.” To witness this phenomenon firsthand, look to some of the region’s leading wildlife experts, grab your hiking shoes, and hit the trails. The spiders aren’t poisonous to people, but they shouldn’t be handled directly by visitors.
“Hikers, and especially families, enjoy seeing Mount Diablo’s ‘gentle giants’ when they come out to look for love. We enjoy it too because it’s a sign that we’re on the right track protecting habitat for the amazing wildlife right here in our backyard,” says Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo’s Land Conservation Director. Save Mount Diablo, a non-profit organization, hosts free, expert-led tarantula hikes in the fall. Be sure to RSVP online, as they do fill up fast.
If you’re visiting the Tri-Valley in the spring, you can also witness this circle of life. Lindsay Wildlife Experience, a local education and animal rehabilitation center, hosts a series of baby tarantula hikes during this time of year.
The Tri-Valley boasts some of the best trails around, but the hike to Murietta Falls is unparalleled. As the highest in the region, the top of this waterfall—yes, waterfall—stands at around 3,000 feet, and flows down a 100-foot rocky ravine.
Start the hike at Del Valle Regional Park via the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, just south of Livermore. Traverse the mountainside, see the spectacular views and wildlife, and get your heart pumping. Murietta Falls is tucked far into the park, so come fully prepared for a 12-mile round trip trek with some pretty steep inclines—and be sure to get a permit and a map from the East Bay Regional Park District before starting. Or, make a weekend trip out of it and camp overnight.
Note that due to the drought conditions, the waterfall may not be cascading when you reach it, but the hike through the Ohlone Wilderness is beautiful and rewarding in and of itself.
By Sarah Schultz