Sibley Volcanic, Regional Preserve
Former Round Top Park Located in the Berkeley Hills
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Skyline Boulevard Entry
(1 of 43) (6187 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:17:30 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#121730_5884BCX


Although located more in the Berkeley hills then in Oakland, the park is best accessed from the Moraga side of the Caldecott Tunnel. Take the Fish Ranch Road exit, cross over the tunnel and head up hill to Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Turn left on Grizzly Peak and follow that to Skyline Boulevard. Left again and the entry is on the left as you round a sweeping right curve.


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Lots Of parking
(2 of 43) (4092 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:17:54 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#121754_5886BCX


Just inside the entry was parking for at most two dozen cars. The turn-around was wide to accommodate school buses. The road leading off at the upper left led to a large secondary parking lot. Restrooms and general information were available in the building at the opposite end of this first parking lot.


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Restrooms And Information
(3 of 43) (3982 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:19:28 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#121928_5889BCX


The restrooms were fairly new and well maintained. They were located on either ends of this building. In front, just behind the columns, were exhibits which described the natural and geologic wonders of this preserve.

The sign read, "Prevent Car Break-Ins," and listed common sense rules to protect your valuables.


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Rocks On Display
(4 of 43) (4233 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:19:58 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#121958_5890BCX


A display labeled, "Sibley's Geological Treasures," exhibited samples of the kinds of rocks and minerals found inside the preserve. Note that many were produced as the result of volcanic heat and grasses. For example, "Lapilli Agglomerate, Spatter from vent, agglutinated while still hot."


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Ranger House
(5 of 43) (3968 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:23:00 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#122300_5893BCX


The house for the ranger that was responsible for the maintenance and protection of this preserve. Note the emergency phone located at the base of the fence just in front of the ranger house. On Wednesday, there was no sign of a ranger.


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Kung Fu Panda
(6 of 43) (3975 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:24:46 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#122446_8393TNT


Behind the ranger house was a modest playground for young children. One of the delights was a large replica of Kung Fu Panda.


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A Chain Of Locks
(7 of 43) (3977 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:24:47 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#122447_5895BCX


A common technique used on public lands is to close and secure a gate using a chain and a single lock. Over time, however, others will also need to access the land beyond the gate. Perhaps the local sheriff will need access, or a fire inspector, or a land surveyor, or workers for the water district, and so on. Each brings his or her own lock. The technique is to cut out a link in the chain, and to replace that link with a lock. Over time, the chain may vanish as it did here, and the entire chain will become formed of locks.


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Central Road
(8 of 43) (4036 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:25:30 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#122530_5897BCX


A paved road leads up from the parking lot to a water storage tank at the top of the hill. Various hiking trails led off the road on both sides. For example the Bay Area Ridge Trail external link passes through this preserve. In all there were many miles of trails inside the preserve external link.


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Core Was Forested
(9 of 43) (4018 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:27:16 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#122716_5898BCX


The core of the park between the parking lot and the water tower and roughly equally distant on either side was forest land. Later on this tour you will see where forest gives way to grasslands. The forest was composed mostly of pine, fir, eucalyptus and manzanita trees.


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Classic Milk Thistle
(10 of 43) (3980 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:28:00 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#122800_5899BCX


In the wilds alongside the road grew milk thistles external link in bloom. Believe it or not, this weed is in the same family as daises.


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Moss
(11 of 43) (3969 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:31:18 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123118_5904BCX


Because ocean fog collects in the Oakland/Berkeley hills, this forest was very damp until the fog burned off typically early to mid afternoon. Trees subjected to this fog developed patches of moss.


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A Sign Described The Volcano
(12 of 43) (3987 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:31:34 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123134_5905BCX


A sign alongside the road described the geologic history of this preserve. It showed a painted replica of the low hill in front of it as that hill looked millions of years ago as an erupting volcano.


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Ocean Fog
(13 of 43) (3966 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:34:28 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123428_5909BCX


The top of this preserve was on one of the peaks that captured fog from the pacific ocean on its way blown eastward. This peak could remain foggy long after the fog burned off in San Francisco, twelve miles to the west and across the bay. As you can see, even on a bright sunny day, the fog could become very dense.


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Manzanita Trunk
(14 of 43) (3972 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:34:42 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123442_5911BCX


Manzanita grew alongside the paved road that led up to the water tower from the park entrance. A close-up of the manzanita's trunk showed its bright red color.


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Uphill The Whole Way
(15 of 43) (3936 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:36:46 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123646_5921BCX


The road up to the water tank was uphill the whole way. Despite the hill, the walk was dramatically beautiful even in the fog.


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Oregon Junco
(16 of 43) (3984 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:37:18 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123718_8397TNT


An Oregon Junco was a small bird that blended well with the fallen pine needles alongside the road. The bird had been looking for food as we approached and flew off shortly after this shot was taken.


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The Water Tank
(17 of 43) (3952 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:37:42 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123742_5923BCX


The water storage tank was found at the top of the hill. It was unexpectedly black and more industrial looking than anticipated.


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Top Of The Hill
(18 of 43) (3989 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:38:50 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#123850_5925BCX


Once to the top of the hill, it was clear why a paved road was needed. Maintenance of such a large facility could not be handled by foot along a narrow path. No trails led off the road from its top. The nearest trail was found part way back down the road where Loop Trail crossed it.


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Loop Trail
(19 of 43) (4004 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:43:48 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#124348_5929BCX


Loop Trail as it appeared leading away from the paved road. It was on the left when traveling back down the road, but on the right when originally going up. Notice how it appeared to be more of a traditional forest trail. The loop circled around the hill and later rejoined the paved road.


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Moss Covered Rock
(20 of 43) (3902 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:45:02 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#124502_5931BCX


Alongside the Loop Trail while still inside a foggy forest, a moss covered boulder looked slimy but felt dry. So perhaps the moss was actually lichen.


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A Banana Slug
(21 of 43) (3971 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:49:44 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#124944_5904BCX


The official mascot of University of California at Santa Cruz external link.


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Robin
(22 of 43) (3928 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:49:58 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#124958_8403TNT


A Robin was barely visible up inside a fog encircled tree.


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Tangled Roots
(23 of 43) (3890 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:51:04 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#125104_5944BCX


Cresting a hill, the downward side revealed a tangle of roots. Added to the nasty surface was mud left behind by departing fog.


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Level Forest Path
(24 of 43) (3937 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 12:55:10 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#125510_5948BCX


After a while, the forest path became level and easy to traverse. Birds could be heard calling to each other in the distance and the air smelled fresh and moist.


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A Mourning Dove
(25 of 43) (3926 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:03:36 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#130336_8404TNT


One interloper on the trail was a Mourning Dove. This shot was taken through a long lens. The dove flew off as we approached.


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Forest Ended At A Gate
(26 of 43) (3970 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:21:34 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#132134_5956BCX


The Loop Trail exited the forest and entered grassland. A short way up the trail was a latched gate with a sign warning about Grazing Animals. The sign described the "Benefits of grazing animals," and how "Cows are not aggressive by nature but if aggravated or threatened, they will defend themselves."


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An Unidentified Raptor
(27 of 43) (4015 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:22:32 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#132232_8411TNT


An unidentified raptor soared overhead searching the grasslands for small prey.


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The Forest
(28 of 43) (3870 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:29:20 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#132920_5960BCX


In the distance (the lower right) was the gate with the warning about cows. Notice how on one side was dense forest and on the other side was rolling grassland.


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Mount Diablo In The Distance
(29 of 43) (3969 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:29:28 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#132928_5961BCX


The view from the grassy rolling hill portion of Loop Trail. Here looking back east toward the preserve entrance and in the far distance at Mount Diablo.


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Old Quarry
(30 of 43) (3997 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:40:12 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#134012_5971BCX


A fence and:

Warning: Steep Cliff

marked the southern edge of an old quarry. Basalt lava was removed to form this pit. As a boon, a cross section of the old volcano was exposed for geologists. The number 2 on the fence corresponded to the numbers on the printed guide available at the preserve's entrance.


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Prayer Labyrinth
(31 of 43) (4056 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:40:00 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#134100_5973BCX


At the bottom of the quarry was a prayer labyrinth external link created from found stones. The object is to walk the single path from the outer entrance to the center. The path represents the journey. The center represents enlightenment, death, or eternal life. Notice how growth has appeared along the stone outlines but not on the paths. This suggested that this prayer labyrinth was still in use up through today.


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Loop Trail Continues
(32 of 43) (3893 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:53:00 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#135300_5979BCX


Loop Trail ended at the quarry. The view from the quarry showed Quarry Trail continuing down and away from it.


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A Picnic
(33 of 43) (3967 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:54:24 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#135424_5981BCX


A picnic took place on the back side (western edge) of the preserve. Loop Trail turned out to be the adventure. Most people took Round Top Trail for easier access to the rolling hills behind the forest. On the back side we found off-leash dogs and dozens of people strolling and enjoying themselves.


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The Fog Burned Off
(34 of 43) (3964 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 13:58:50 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#135850_5988BCX


Looking west toward San Francisco, the fog was still blowing in, but sunlight had become strong enough to begin to burn it off. Above the fog could be seen clouds from an approaching storm.


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A Mythic Hill
(35 of 43) (4001 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:00:50 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#140050_5990BCX


One hill had a dramatically bent bush growing from the rocks atop it. The look of that hill dramatically resembled a hill from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.


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A Western Bluebird
(36 of 43) (3919 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:10:08 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#141008_8427TNT


A western bluebird was perched on the blooming branches of a bush alongside Quarry Trail.


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Exhibit 3
(37 of 43) (3971 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:11:44 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#141144_5992BCX


From the pamphlet available at the preserve's entrance, "This road cut exposes Orinda Formation river gravels, sands, and mudstones ... explored worldwide for the fossils and plants and animals they contain."


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Quarry Trail Continues
(38 of 43) (3966 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:12:28 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#141228_5993BCX


Quarry Trail continues for a mile or so further until it reaches Quarry Road and a southern entry to the preserve.


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Along Round Top Trail
(39 of 43) (3980 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:14:00 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#141400_8429TNT


The easiest way back out of the preserve is along Round Top Trail. This trail became forested almost at once, and was bordered by dense foliage. Somewhere in this mass of tangled branches was a bird not captured on film.


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Dramatic Clouds
(40 of 43) (3902 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:16:08 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#141608_5997BCX


A Pacific storm was approaching that day and its approach created dramatic clouds behind Round Top Mountain as seen from Round Top Trail.


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Fresh Growth
(41 of 43) (3958 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:18:44 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#141844_5999BCX


Fresh growth was evident alongside Round Top Trail.


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Round Top Trail
(42 of 43) (3945 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:26:46 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#142646_6005BCX


Round Top Trail was the wide easy trail into and out of the preserve lands behind the hill. It was also the easy way back out to the parking lot. If you want to visit the numbered exhibits in order, pick up a guide at the entrance and plan your walk accordingly. Note that it may be easier to backtrack from Round Top Trail up Quarry Trail, than to go all the way around Loop Trail.


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Rattlesnakes
(43 of 43) (4041 views)

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
East Bay Regional Park District
Access via Oakland, but above Berkeley
(Photo posted 31 July 2010)
(Photo taken 14:28:00 Wednesday 9 June 2010)
© 2010 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
#142800_6009BCX


The only warning about rattlesnakes was posted on the gate leading into and out of Round Top Trail. The sign read:

Rattlesnakes may be found in this area. They are important members of the natural community. They are not aggressive, but if threatened or cornered, they will defend themselves. Give them distance and respect.

  • Avoid placing your hands or feet where you can't see.
  • Give rattlesnakes plenty of space.
  • If you find a rattlesnake in a picnic or camp area, notify park staff so they can relocate it.
  • Do not harm rattlesnakes. They are important members of the natural world.
  • For more information call the East Bay Regional Park District at (520) 635-0135, or contact your local park staff.

    East Bay Regional Park District external link


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