Tell the kids there’s a volcano in their own backyard, nestled between the East Bay’s Tilden and Redwood Regional Parks, and it’s 10 million years old! Round Top at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is made of lava and left-over volcanic debris, but it’s in no danger of erupting any time soon. In fact, this volcano is laying down on its side, so kids and parents can rest assured it’s fast asleep.
The hiking trails around Sibley are enthralling in and of themselves, so you may not even notice Round Top’s exposed bedrock while you’re taking in the view, though it’s one of the highest peaks among the surrounding hills. Grab a self-guided brochure at the Visitor Center and take Round Top Road and Loop Trail all the way up and around the volcano. It’s relatively easy walking, and the dog can run along beside you.
But the volcano isn’t the only secret of this park. There really are a couple of little ponds at the bottom of Pond Trail. There are also a series of labyrinths just of the Volcanic Trail. Here, tucked in between the peaks, visitors can appreciate a spiritual moment. For the kids, the labyrinths are like living mazes to circle around, but ask them not to upset the trinkets left in the middle, left behind by other walkers. Instead, kids can leave behind a stone or leaf of their own to remember the moment and the day they took on the volcano.