A close to complete guide to the trails of Joaquin Miller Park (trail map)
-Bishop’s Walk (also known to some as Shepherd’s walk) is a narrow trail from the bottom of the park up to the Lookout Point. It’s a relatively steep climb that is sure to challenge any level of cyclist. There’s a fun switchback turn and a steep section at the top. It’s narrow the whole way up. Alternatively, this trail is a ton of fun going downhill. You’ll see people ride it both ways. Since it parallels the paved service road, you can also climb the pavement if you’re not feeling up to the challenge of Bishop’s walk.
-Sinawik Trail (Kiwanis spelled backwards, as that’s the club who built the trail) takes you from the Lookout Point on Sanborn Road into the main lower meadow area. It’s a rolling singletrack with a few technical sections, but nothing too advanced. A short punchy climb leads out of the creek bed and into the meadow. A fun trail to loop.
-Sinawik Loop Trail runs parallel to Sinawik, from right below the Lookout Point to the meadow. There’s a very steep climb at first, but once you ride (or walk) past that, it’s a fun, fast, and flowy singletrack into the meadow.
-Sunset Trail runs through the middle of the park. Most people pick it up in the meadow, a large picnic area with bathrooms and water. Sunset runs all the way from Castle Drive on the park’s northernmost edge into the meadow. That portion of Sunset is narrow and smooth, with good views of Oakland. From the meadow, Sunset climbs quite deceptively at first and then very obviously, up to Sequoia Bayview Trail. The Sunset climb from the meadow is a good barometer of fitness. It’s got two switchbacks and a short rooty section.
-Sunset Loop Trail/Harold Ireland Trail turns off to the left just before Sunset begins climbing in earnest. There’s a narrow singletrack climb that has an abrupt left turn. One steep bit of trail later, you’re rolling down a bit. The trail will then reach a T intersection. Left will take you back to the meadow. Right proceeds up the hill, over a couple of wooden steps, to the intersection with Fern Ravine Trail. You can’t ride Fern Ravine, but you can turn left at the sign and stay on Sunset Loop, which proceeds to steeply descend to a small bridge. You’ll cross the bridge and follow the singletrack all the way back down to Sunset trail, where the loop ends. This part is a ton of fun, and a less-ridden section of the park.
-Sequoia Bayview Trail is the park’s upper spine. It runs from Skyline Boulevard at the Sequoia Bayview Trailhead all the way across the park until it ends at Castle Park Trail. It’s the easiest trail in the park, and most suitable for beginners. It’s wide, relatively flat, and traverses along a ridge. There are a few sections that have a bit of up and down, as well as a creek crossing, but nothing unmanageable. Just because it’s easy doesn’t make it ugly - Sequoia Bayview has some of the best views in the park, as well as a couple of nice tree lined sections sure to please any lover of the outdoors.
-Palos Colorados Trail has three sections, two of which are legal to bikes. Upper Palos Colorados takes you from Sequoia Bayview Trail just in from the trailhead down into the meadow. What used to be a very rooty and steep descent has been re-routed especially for bikes into a twisty trail, complete with 4 switchbacks and a bermed corner or two. From the bottom of this section, Palos Colorados and Sunset are the same trail, headed north, until you pass the bottom of Sunset Loop. From there, Middle Palos Colorados appears to your left and parallels Palo Seco creek all the way to its end at a bridge linking it back with Sinawik Trail. This part is equally fun and has a pump-track like feel at times. It may be the narrowest legal trail in the park, so definitely watch for hikers here. There’s a sign at the end of Middle Palos Colorados that says NO BIKES. You’re not allowed to ride past the bridge. It’s full of stairs, anyway.
-Orchard Trail is a short connector from Sequoia Bayview to a service road. If you go right on the service road, you head to Big Trees. Orchard is an uphill trail with a little bridge you cross at the bottom. Not too hard, but definitely gets you working as you make your way up to the service road.
-Big Trees Trail is a true intermediate singletrack gem, and a favorite of our staff. The main section of Big Trees runs from a small dirt parking lot on Skyline Boulevard down to the Sequoia Bayview trailhead. It’s a completely forested narrow trail, with some ups and downs along the way. Though mostly downhill, you’ll be pedaling the whole way. There are a bunch of options as you descend - for a little extra trail, turn right after the first descent/ascent into a clearing of trees - the trail extends a bit that way before rejoining the mail section of the trail. Without going on and on, this trail can be ridden over and over without losing its appeal.
-Cinderella Trail is one of the most technical downhill trails in the park. Running from Sequoia Bayview down to Sunset, Cinderella is consistently steep, fast, technical, and narrow at times. There’s a rock garden descent that will test anyone’s line-picking skill. That said, the trail flows well, and the recent re-route of the ending is better for the environment, adding a switchbacky narrow section through a Eucalyptus grove. A trail for strong riders.
-Chaparral Trail also runs from Sequoia Bayview down to Sunset. It’s steeper, rockier, and more technical than Cinderella, with tons of railroad ties creating a series of drops as the trail descends. Dry waterfall is a good description - steep and rutted for sure. Definitely a trail for the advanced mountain biker.
If you start at the bottom, we recommend climbing Bishop’s Walk to the Lookout, dropping in to Sinawik and taking that to the meadow. Climb up Sunset (moderate) or Palos Colorados (harder) and take that to Sequoia Bayview. Take Sequoia Bayview to Orchard if you want to do Big Trees. Keep going on Sequoia Bayview if you want to do Cinderella or Chaparral.
Realistically, you can’t go wrong at Joaquin Miller. Explore - there are tons of other trails not listed here, and they’re all a lot of fun.