Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail
The Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail is the basic way out of Berkeley into the parks. Starting at the parking lot south of Centennial above Strawberry Canyon Rec Center but well below the Botanical Gardens, it
climbs shallow graded fire trail (or cut off into the redwood grove for
a steeper climb) for I think just under a mile, ending at Panoramic
Way. Climb a steep "connector" trail to gain another low angle fire
road which ends at MSRI, near the Centennial/ Grizzly Peak
intersection. Once you reach MSRI, meander east through the parking
lots to find a short trail exit onto Grizzly Peak, from which point you
can access several of Tilden's and (eventually) Wildcat Canyon's
Clark Kerr Trail
Another trail gaining park access is what I'm calling the Clark Kerr
Trail, which, starting at the east terminus of Derby St, ascends fire
road switchbacks behind Clark Kerr to gain a ridge at the top of
Panoramic Way. You can also get to this point starting at the top of
Dwight, but the directions are too hard to describe; enjoy exploring.
There's also a lower trail from the Dwight trail across Hamilton Creek
to the Eucalyptus stand above Clark Kerr, but beware of poison oak!
You can run along the ridge (with excellent views of the entire bay) to
a high point just before Grizzly Peak. (There are several connectors
north from this trail to the Strawberry Creek fire trail, as well as a
few to the south connecting to Claremont Rd.) From the flats just
beyond this high point you can exit along short fire road to Grizzly
Peak on the north to gain access to Volmer Peak/ South Park "Headwaters
of Wildcat Canyon" areas, as well as the EBMUD lands which drain into
San Pablo Reservoir. Or you can exit south to Grizzly Peak, cross it,
and reach into the EBMUD lands above Orinda, as well as take the Bay
Area Ridge Trail into Sibly Park and points to the South. (Don't access
Grizzly Peak directly, or expect to encounter burrs and poison oak.)
There is a google map supporting some of the above. It's
called Berkeley Hills Running Trails, and is owned by the
cal.hiking.club google account. It should be public; let Mark Miller know if
you can't find it. Also, if you'd like to add to this map, let me know and
I'll give you access to the account.
I'll leave it to others to find relevant maps of the East Bay Parks.
As for EBMUD lands, I can't recommend them highly enough. There's some
great and varied terrain, with a fraction the traffic and
infrastructure of the EB Park lands. You'll need a permit if you want
to be legit (something like $5/ year; Val was talking about becoming a
permit deputy at one point); I have one printed at 1/4 size and stashed
under the innersole of my running shoe.
One thing which neither my google maps nor the EBMUD or EBPark maps
discuss is elevation, which I find to be a larger fatiguing factor than
distance when running the the Berkeley Hills. An old CHAOT Bob Atka
taught me about Effort Units (not sure where he got the concept, or if
he came upon it himself). We usually use this for backcountry skiing,
but it seems to be useful for running as well. Either 1000' vertical,
or 2 mi. horizontal = 1 Effort Unit (EU). Hence, a 5 mile run with
1500' of elevation gain would be 5/2 + 1.5 = 4 EU, and *all things
being equal*, will probably hit you as hard as another 4 EU route, say
an eight mile flat run. Obviously if you only do one run you don't
need to worry about these effort units. But if you want to plan or
explore new routes I find this concept of effort units quite useful.
You can use GoogleEarth to determine the vertical rise of your routes.
(And if you do, put some benchmarks in the googlemaps I point to