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A comeback for Hayward's red barn.

Two of the least-visited areas in the East Bay Regional Park district, Garin and Dry Creek-Pioneer parks together form 7 miles of undeveloped open space. Perched on the East Bay ridgeline, the two neighboring preserves are in Hayward, 20 miles southeast of downtown Oakland.

The parks' 2,212 acres offer good bay views and hiking or biking on 9 miles of trails. A new nature center in a refurbished 1926 barn reopened February 1.

At the Red Barn center, you can see hand tools and horse-drawn farming equipment from the pioneer home ranches of the Garin and Jordan families, who worked this land. Inside you'll find a blacksmith shop and exhibits on early food storage and farming techniques. Test your strength on the hay bale lifter (a bale can weigh up to 70 pounds). The center is open weekends from 10 to 4:30.

If you want to hike, you can follow trails from the valley and nature center area up to the ridges; plan on at least a 600-foot elevation gain. One nice 5-mile round-trip walk takes you past tiny Jordan Pond, along an open ridge, then up steeply to Gossip Rock. Its hollowed grooves were used as a grinding stone by the area's early Ohlone Indian inhabitants.

There are picnic tables in the meadow near the nature center. The unpaved trails here can stay mucky after a heavy rain. Mountain bikes are permitted on trails; dogs are allowed (use a leash until you're well out on the trails). The parks are open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking costs $1 weekday, $2 weekends.

To reach the shared-access entrance, take State 17 (Nimitz Freeway) to the Industrial Parkway exit and head east. Turn right on Mission Boulevard, then left on Garin Avenue and go about 1 mile.
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Title Annotation:Garin and Dry Creek-Pioneer Parks, Hayward, California
Date:Mar 1, 1985
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