Thursday, May 21, 2015
Acalanes Ridge Open Space is a relatively small natural area which straddles the ridge between Lafayette and Walnut Creek. The short hikes within the 177 acres provides sweeping vistas of Mount Diablo, as well as hidden sylvan creekside settings, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. From the ridge line you can see Mount Diablo as well as the Carquinez Strait and the delta to the north.
Begin this hike from the John Muir Land Trust-Acalanes Ridge Open Space Trailhead at the end of Peaceful Ln in Lafayette.
Enter through the trail gate and head underneath the pines until you reach Gary Bogue Trail.
Turn left onto Gary Bogue Trail; the single track trail drops down along the hillside to a trail gate.
Enjoy the grand display of spring wildflowers! Elegant clarkias are growing in abundance along this slope!
At the trail gate: turn left onto the unmarked fire road and head downhill to the next trail junction.
Enjoy the spectacular valley views and the surrounding hills and ridges!
At the Ridge Top/Yarrow Trail junction: turn left onto Ridge Top Trail for the moderate climb up to the top of the ridge.
Stay on Ridge Top Trail to the summit.
From the ridgeline at 751 feet, stop and take in the phenomenal 360 degree views of the entire area!
Ridge Top Trail drops down from the ridge to the Monarch Ridge Trailhead.
At the Camino Verde/Ridge Top Trail junction: turn right onto Camino Verde Trail and head downhill.
At the Camino Verde Trail junction: turn right to stay on Camino Verde Trail. The trail winds along the pale golden meadows to the next junction.
At the Camino Verde Trail junction: turn left and head downhill on Camino Verde Trail towards the Camino Verde Cir Trailhead.
At the Yarrow/Camino Verde Trail junction: turn right onto Yarrow Trail. Follow the narrow single track trail through the open gate into the dense oak woodland.
It continues uphill through a small canyon area with a seasonal spring.
The trail emerges from the woods out towards the oak studded golden meadows.
At the Yarrow Trail/Camino Verde Trail junction: turn left onto Camino Verde Trail. The broad trail climbs uphill from the lower meadows towards the ridge.
At the Ramsey Circle/Sousa Trail junction: turn right onto Sousa Trail. Go uphill to the top of the lower ridge.
At the trail split: turn left onto the unmarked trail and take another left at the trail split. The single track trail winds along the golden hillside with views of Mt Diablo and Briones Hills.
At the Briones to Mt Diablo/Sousa Trail junction: turn right onto Briones to Mt Diablo Trail for the moderate climb back up towards the ridge.
At the trail split: turn left and go uphill to the Gary Bogue Trail gate. Retrace your steps on the Gary Bogue Trail towards Peaceful Ln.
Amazing hillside views!
At the Gary Bogue Trail junction: turn left and go uphill towards Bacon Reservoir.
At the unmarked Water Tower RidgeTrail: turn left and follow the worn trail underneath the pines and make your way up to the top of Water Tower Ridge.
Enjoy the magnificent 360 degree views of the Bay Area!
Wildflowers around the tower!
Turn around and retrace your steps back towards the reservoir and make a sharp left to another unmarked trail. Follow the unmarked trail around the perimeter of the water tower and scramble your way down the side of the hill back onto the main road.
Take the main road back to the trail gate at Peaceful Ln.
Come and hike the scenic trails to enjoy the sweeping ridge top vistas and 360 degrees panorama of Mt Diablo, Suisun Bay, Carquinez Strait, the Livermore foothills, Briones, the Oakland Hills and Las Trampas!
Wildflowers seen on the trails: broadleaf filaree, mustard, wild radish, silver lupinbe, smooth hawksbeard, thistle, redstem filaree, california poppy, elegant clarkia, ithuriel’s spear, mule’s ear, california goldenrod, false dandelion, morning glory, pink wildflower, rose clover, purple vetch, winecup clarkia, dandelion, purple owl’s clover, bellardia, california buckeye, narrowleaf milkweed, scarlet pimpernel, yarrow, bird’s foor deerweed and gumweed
2.4 Miles with 500′ of elevation gain
Time: 1.5 hours
Weather: Overcast & cloudy with partial sunshine. Temps ranged from the mid-high 60’s with SW winds.
From Martinez: Head south on I-680. Merge onto Highway 24W and take the exit for Pleasant Hill Road. Make a right on Stanley Blvd. Stanley Blvd. becomes Springbrook Road. Make a left on Bacon Way and another left on Bacon Court. Make a left on Peaceful Lane and park at the end of the road.
From I-580: Head east on Highway 24 and merge onto I-680 south. Keep left and follow the signs for Mount Diablo Blvd. Make a left on Camino Diablo. Make a right on Springbrook Road. Make a right on Bacon Way and a left on Bacon Court. Make a left on Peaceful Lane and park at the end of the road.
Parking: No fee. No facilities
*Bring plenty of water & food/snacks. No facilities-No water along the trails