Upper San Leandro Reservoir: Riche Loop-Rimer Creek-King’s Canyon Loop Trail Hike

Tuesday, June 22, 2015

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EBMUD‘s 58,000 acres of beautiful watershed lands and reservoirs in the East Bay and Sierra Foothills protect water quality for EBMUD customers. An oasis for wildlife and a lush haven for people, these lands offer many opportunities to explore and enjoy nature. Along 80 miles of East Bay trails, hikers and horseback riders can soak in lake views and streams, redwoods, wildflowers and open grasslands. (https://www.ebmud.com/recreation/east-bay/east-bay-trails/)

This scenic trail hike winds through the grasslands and shaded forests along the north side of Upper San Leandro Reservoir on Rimer Creek Trail and King’s Canyon Loop Trail. It also includes a the short hike around the valley on the Riche Loop Trail.

Begin from EBMUD Valle Vista Staging Area.

Enter through trail gate, sign in and turn right towards Riche Loop Trail.

At Riche Loop Trail junction: turn left-the trail winds around the grasslands in Moraga Valley with scenic views of the surrounding hills.


Mile 0.6-at the trail junction: turn right to King’s Canyon LoopTrail/Rocky Ridge Trail. The trail winds through a stand of thin and leaning eucalyptus and pines.

The trail leads to a beautiful bridge over Moraga Creek.

Mile 0.9-after crossing the bridge-make an immediate left towards the trail gate to Rimer Creek Trail. The trail travels through the gorgeous woodlands before emerging onto a wide fire road at the cattle gate.


Rimer Creek Trail continues through Moraga Valley along the EBMUD boundary on the outskirts of the residential neighborhoods in Moraga.

The fire road climbs up to the ridge with stunning views of Moraga Valley, Las Trampas Peak, Las Trampas and Rocky Ridges!

Mile 1.8-at the cattle gate: turn left and enter through the trail gate to stay on Rimer Creek Trail.

Rimer Creek Trail continues with a stiff climb up along the ridge line into the forest.

Enjoy the spectacular views!

Mile 2.7-at the unmarked trail junction: turn right to stay on Rimer Creek Trail. The trail drops down from the woods towards the valley meadows.

Look around and admire the gorgeous landscape!

Mile 2.8-at the unsigned trail post: follow the arrow and turn right. The narrow single track continues across the grassland down towards the fence line to King’s Canyon Loop Trail.

Mile 3.1-at the trail sign: go straight onto King’s Canyon Loop Trail. The trail goes south along the narrow east arm of the San Leandro Reservoir with views of the lake.

The fire road meanders through King Canyon along the reservoir with fabulous views of the dense forests and hills sitting above the shallow reeds.

The trail cuts under the shaded oaks before emerging back out to the open shoreline.

Enjoy the views!



Stop for lunch at the Jennifer Griswold memorial bench-it’s the perfect spot in the shade to watch the cormorants holding out their wings in the sun to dry or follow the fluid beauty of the swifts free flying in the air and bomb diving for fish. Life can’t get any simpler than this!

King’s Canyon Trail continues north along the lake’s narrow arm with a steep climb towards the ridge.

Mile 4.5-at the trail split and highpoint: turn right to stay on King’s Canyon Trail. The trail continues through the shady oak/bay woodland to the transmission towers along the reservoir.

The trail winds along the reservoir with glimpse of the lake before arriving at the section of hillside with the beautiful exposed layers of sedimentary rocks.


King’s Canyon Trail continues under the woodlands with a little series of ups and downs before reaching the valley floor.

Mile 6.2-at the trail junction: go straight towards Valle Vista Staging Area. The trail leads back to the bridge crossing through the pines and dense brush.

Cross the bridge and follow the trail back to the parking lot.

This a gorgeous hike around one of the most secluded areas in Contra Costa County! Get the EBMUD trail permit and enjoy these less traveled trails under the shady pine, eucalyptus and oak/bay woodlands. You’ll love the quiet calm and solitude.

Wildflowers seen on the trails: fuller’s teasel, mayweed, blackberry fruit, yellow wildflower, blue witch, buckeye, narrowleaf milkweed, poison hemlock, dandelion, clover, morning glory, bush monkeyflower, indian warrior, winecup clarkia, elegant clarkia, blackberry flower and deerweed

7.3 Miles with 1149′ of elevation gain
Time: 3.5 hours with one stop
Hike: Moderate
Parking: No fee at EBMUD Valle Vista Staging Area on Canyon Rd in Moraga
Pit toilets-NO WATER
On-leash dogs are only allowed on the King’s Canyon Loop Trail portion of this hike
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks-No facilities along the trails

Weather: Overcast skies with afternoon sun. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to low 70’s with SW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Kings Canyon

Print Trail Map

EBMUD Kings Canyon

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