Oakland’s Clear Winter Skies.

Note: For optimum viewing, please click on the photos to enlarge and clarify them.

As a former Bostonian, there aren’t many things I appreciate more than February in the Bay Area. Instead of experiencing freezing weather, ridiculous amounts of snow, and wearing several layers of clothing that make me look like the Michelin Man, I can bask in 65 degree sunshine, see daffodils in bloom, and enjoy all the flowering fruit trees.

I can also enjoy some of the clearest skies and most awe-inspiring views we’ll see all year. The views from Oakland, after a winter rain or wind system has moved through, are absolutely breathtaking. The wind and rain knock the pollution out of the air, humidity is lower, and pristine skies abound. As Roger Daltrey crooned in the 1967 song performed by The Who, “I can see for miles and miles…”

Note the difference between the summer and winter shots below:


Oakland and San Francisco in summer.

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Oakland and San Francisco from Oakland California Temple in winter.


Downtown Oakland from Mountain View Cemetery in winter.

 The difference in seasonal air quality and clarity is striking. Consider the views from Oakland of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. During the summer, you can often see the bridge (when the fog doesn’t intervene), but on a clear winter day, you not only see the bridge, but you can make out individual cars and trucks on it! Since the bridge is about ten miles from downtown Oakland, that’s quite a feat.

If you click on the recent photo below, taken from Mountain View Cemetery, you’ll see a truck on the bridge (a tiny, white rectangle on the bridge’s lower level, a bit to the right of the middle of the photo), as well as trees on the Wine Country hilltops along the northwest horizon.

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Richmond-San Rafael Bridge from Mountain View Cemetery, in winter.

The next winter photo shows that, from the Oakland Hills, you can look over downtown Oakland and clearly see the Golden Gate, the Marin Headlands, the Point Bonita Lighthouse (the white dot, just to the right of the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge) and the Pacific Ocean.

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Downtown Oakland, Yerba Buena Island, the bridges, and Marin Headlands, in winter.

In this last photo, taken from the Oakland Hills near the Oakland-Berkeley border, you can clearly see the Farallon Islands on the horizon (upper right), 30 miles off the coast. Try that in the summer!


New span of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island (in the bay), and Farallon Islands (off-shore), in winter, from the Oakland Hills.

Let’s all do our part to keep pollution levels in check, so we can continue to enjoy the amazing vistas we’re so fortunate to have all around us.

Keeping Oakland beautiful is everybody’s business.

We encourage you to share your thoughts in the reply section. We welcome the dialogue and learning of others’ perspectives.

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