Entertainment Magazine News Volume 70, Issue 2

How Safe Are Local Trails?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for the Las Lomas student body. One thing that has been limited due to pandemic restrictions is access to gyms and the cancellation of many sports seasons. One alternative way to stay active during these times is utilizing local trails for exercise while staying respectful of other community members by wearing a mask and social distancing.

I have taken up hiking as a way of getting exercise while my fall sport has been postponed. The first trail that I started hiking regularly was in Howe Homestead Park. The trail can get very narrow, so it is very important to wear a mask when hiking those sections of the trails to keep yourself and others safe. I mostly walk in the afternoon, and I usually come in contact with a small amount of hikers, runners, or bikers. Most people on this trail that I have passed don’t wear masks, so I make sure to carry one so that I can protect myself. The views are very pretty as you get into Shell Ridge, but from my personal experience I would not give Howe Homestead the best rating based on COVID-friendliness alone. 

Another trail that I have frequented in the past few months is the Iron Horse Trail. I like to bike on this trail from the Rudgear entrance going south towards San Ramon. The Iron Horse Trail has a lot of people doing various activities such as running, walking, biking, rollerblading, and everything in between. The Iron Horse Trail is very popular and runs through downtown areas, so it is very important to keep a mask on, considering how many people utilize it.

Senior Katie Wilson also bikes on the Iron Horse Trail regularly. “For the most part people try to social distance, but when it gets busier it can be difficult to stay six feet apart,” Wilson said. “When I bike, I feel pretty safe since I’m wearing a mask and I pass people pretty quickly.”

Senior Dalynne Tomizaki is very complimentary of the Iron Horse Trail. “The trail has a lot of different paths you can take so you won’t get bored of it,” Tomizaki said. “I see a lot of social distancing since people are always moving and not staying in one place on the trail.”

Senior Sam Camp regularly runs in Shell Ridge around the Sutherland and Rockspring entrances. “The trails are wide enough to pass anyone without being within six feet for too long,” Camp said. “As we encroach on each other’s space, some people will put on masks but others will simply not have one which is annoying as it puts us at risk for their decisions.” Camp highly recommends getting out for a run in Shell Ridge. “Some exercise every few days is great to lower the stress this year brings,” Camp said.

Senior Bryce Yuen frequents Acalanes Ridge for running and hiking. “I would totally recommend exercising on this trail [Acalanes Ridge] provided that you distance, mask up, and are respectful to others and nature,” Yuen said. “I would say fifty percent of all runners wear masks…bikers tend to be on the not wearing masks side.” Yuen gave advice on when to go to Acalanes Ridge trails if you are attempting to socially distance as much as possible. “Try to avoid busy times like sunset,” Yuen said. “Distancing can be difficult on smaller, single track trails that are higher up…on the larger trails and ranching roads, there is plentiful space to appropriately distance.” 

With all of the changes in our everyday lives that we’ve made in the past several months, one thing that has remained very important is our health. Our local trails are a great place to get some exercise, provided that you follow the set guidelines to keep both yourself and others safe.