Thursday, July 23, 2015
This challenging hike up Rocky Ridge trail to Rocky Ridge travels through the unspoiled remote area around the EBMUD watershed land between Las Trampas Regional Wilderness and the Upper San Leandro Reservoir. It includes the clockwise hike on the Rocky Ridge Loop Trail.
The Rancho Laguna Trail takes you down and up a ravine to a cattle gate.
Enter through the gate and follow the broad fire road to the first trail junction: turn right to stay on the Rancho Laguna Trail at the Kings Canyon/Rocky Ridge Trail post. Go about 0.4 mile-you’ll reach the King Canyon Trail junction, at this point, it’s a bit confusing because there’s no signage for the Rocky Ridge Trail. But stay on the trail, the Rocky Ridge Trail post comes to view around the bend in less than a tenth of a mile.
The fairly level trail runs adjacent to a creek before gradually pitching upwards through the oak/bay woodland.
The trail emerges onto the open meadows and grasslands with grazing cattle dotting the hillside and continues to climb to the top of the first hill.
This spot provides a wonderful panoramic view of the hills and ridges around Moraga and Rocky Ridge to the east!
Follow the trail post arrow; the trail descends into the valley to a T junction. Turn left at the trail post onto the fire road to stay on the Rocky Ridge Trail followed by an immediate right turn at the next trail junction.
Rocky Ridge Trail drops down through the beautiful riparian habitat around Buckhorn Creek; the creek drains out into the Upper San Leandro Reservoir.
The trail exits the lush landscape out to the open grasslands to a cattle gate and begins to climb again.
The single track trail traverses up the golden hillside with sparsely dotted native Coyote Brush-they’re able to thrive with no water! The trail reaches a high point at the cattle gate at 1226′ with an elevation gain of about 600 feet.
Look around and enjoy the stunning panoramic views!
The trail levels out for a short bit along the ridge with grand views of Rocky Ridge!
Follow the trail arrow and turn left to stay on Rocky Ridge Trail; it continues along the ridge with a few short steep climbs to the next trail junction.
Stop and enjoy the spectacular views of the rolling hills, the west face of Rocky Ridge and in the far distance you can see Ramage Peak to the south!
At the Rocky Ridge Loop Trail junction: go straight-this section of the hike climbs up for a loop around Rocky Ridge. At this point, you can also turn around and retrace your steps back to the park-this will shorten the hike to about 7.5 miles.
If you feel up for the challenge-forge on! The Rocky Ridge Loop Trails begins on a fire road with a very steep climb up the chaparral covered slopes to the trail gate.
Watch for the interesting rock formations along the trail, there’s one that looks like a lion or seal’s head, depending on how you look at it!
The views are outstanding-you can see a clearer view of Ramage Peak!
The fire trail continues to weave its way up around the hill towards the ridge.
Look around, you’ll see the rock outcroppings stretched out along the rugged hillside.
Fabulous views from above!
Rocky Ridge Loop Trail enters through a beautiful dense forested area out to a cattle gate.
The trail winds up along the ridge towards the relay tower, at the trail junction-turn right to stay on Rocky Ridge Loop Trail.
Rocky Ridge Loop Trail snakes it way up around the tower along the ridge at the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness boundary line.
This ridge line offers a single peak view of Mt Diablo and the chaparral covered slopes of Las Trampas Ridge-you don’t get to see that very often-WOW!
The trail continues along the ridge to the summit with phenomenal 360 degree views; Mt Diablo, Las Trampas Ridge, San Ramon Valley, Upper San Leandro and bits of the East-South Bay!
The trail drops down to the trail gate to the single bench at the Vista Overlook.
Sit for a spell and enjoy the views-it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch!
On the steep descent from the ridge, watch your footing on the loose dirt/gravel! The trail leads down to the trail gate with great views of the surrounding hills and rock outcroppings.
At the Ramage Peak Trail junction: turn right to stay on the Rocky Ridge Loop Trail. The trail drops down into a valley and levels out for a short section as it goes in and out of the woods to a cattle gate.
The trail enters through the lush riparian habitat around Kaiser Creek to the open grasslands; this creek also drains out into the Upper San Leandro Reservoir.
At the next Rocky Ridge Loop Trail post-go straight; the fire road climbs up and down from the valley to the lower ridge with fantastic views the surrounding hills, the rock wall, and Ramage Peak!
The loop comes to an end at the Rocky Ridge Trail junction. At this point, retrace your way back along the Rocky Ridge Trail. The rolling terrain leads to the down hill zig-zag to the valley.
The trail climbs up from Buckhorn Creek to the high point at 1004 feet with an elevation gain of about 380 feet.
The trail takes you back through the woodsy section followed by a few more ups and down before reaching the Rancho Laguna Trail junction.
The left turn at the Rancho Laguna Park junction for the return into the park.
This remote challenging hike is mostly exposed to the sun; wear sun protection and bring plenty of water & food. There is no facilities or water along these trails-be prepared and plan accordingly.
EBMUD leases some of the grassland areas around the watershed lands for cattle grazing, watch out for cow patties and don’t get too close to the cows especially when there are calves around-they get very protective!
This is a strenuous hike that leads you up to the beautiful Rocky Ridge along Rocky Ridge Trail to the Rocky Ridge Loop Trail. The rolling hills takes you through a gorgeous less-traveled remote area with spectacular views of Rocky Ridge, Ramage Peak and beyond! The ridge provides outstanding panoramic valley views of EBMUD’s protected watershed lands-it’s worth the climbs!
12.2 Miles with 3139′ of elevation gain
Time: 5.5-6 hours with a stop
Hike: Strenuous-challenging with steep climbs
Parking: No fee at Rancho Laguna Park at the end of Camino Pablo in Moraga
EBMUD Trail Permit Required-PURCHASE & PRINT PERMIT HERE
The EBMUD trailhead and sign-in is located at the back of the park
Water & restrooms available
No Dogs Allowed
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks-No facilities or water along the trails
Weather: Cloudy overcast skies > sunny & warm. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to mid 70’s with SW winds.