Las Trampas: Rocky Ridge-Ramage Peak-Devil’s Hole-Elderberry Trail Hike

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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Las Trampas Regional Wilderness offers 5,342 acres of wilderness and an expanded trail system that allows hikers and horseback riders to enjoy its remote and rugged areas. The park’s size and terrain allow visitors a feeling of privacy and escape from urban hustle and bustle.

The dominant woodland vegetation on the western and southern exposures of Las Trampas and Rocky ridges is black sage, chamise and buck brush. The dominant trees are coast live oak and bay laurel. Other species are buckeye, big leaf maple, canyon live oak, black oak and scrub oak. The East Bay Regional Park District & EBMUD leases some of the grassland areas for cattle grazing.

Stone outcroppings on Rocky Ridge are beautifully sculptured by the wind and colored by many lichen species. An entire day may be spent hiking the ridge and the Devil’s Hole area. Wildflowers abound in season and are especially beautiful after a rain. (http://www.ebparks.org/parks/las_trampas#about)

This demanding hike climbs up to Rocky Ridge along the Rocky Ridge View Trail. With a EBMUD permit, enter through the EBMUD trail gate and continue south along Rocky Ridge for a steep drop down to Ramage Peak Trail. Continue for a few steep ups and downs before trekking up the super steep fire road to Ramage Peak at 1401 feet. Retrace the route back to Rocky Ridge and re-enter Las Trampas Wilderness onto Devil’s Hole Trail at Cull Creek. Climb back up to Rocky Ridge and descend Elderberry Trail to the staging area parking lot.

Start this hike from the Bollinger Canyon Staging Area at the end of Bollinger Canyon Rd at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in San Ramon.

Enter through the Rocky Ridge View Trail gate at the west end of the parking lot adjacent to the Shady picnic area. The paved trail begins with an immediate steep steady climb up through the grassland into the shaded woodland.

The road exits back out through the grasslands towards Rocky Ridge at Rock 2 Peak-2024 feet.

Look around and enjoy the stunning views of Las Trampas Ridge and Mt Diablo!

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Mile 0.5 at the trail split: exit the paved road-turn left onto the dirt trail to the Cuesta/Rocky Ridge View Trail junction. Go right onto Rocky Ridge View Trail-the single track continues climbing up towards the ridge with views of the relay tower.

Mile 0.7-turn left to stay on Rocky Ridge View Trail; the single track goes uphill across the side of the hill to Rocky Ridge with grand views of San Ramon Valley. This portion of the trail has exposed sections of rock with fossilized shells-keep an eye out for the interesting patterns!

Mile 1.0-at the trail split: turn right and follow the trail to the EBMUD trail gate, enter through the gate onto Rocky Ridge. (EBMUD trail permit required for this section of the hike) Turn left and travel along the top of the ridge to the next trail gate.

Enjoy the wonderful ridge top views!

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Enter through the trail gate, take a pause at the lone bench before heading downhill through the loose dirt-watch your footing on this steep descent!

Enjoy the stone outcroppings and the surrounding chaparral covered slopes!

Mile 2.25-at the Rocky Ridge Trail junction: turn left and continue downhill to the next trail gate and trail junction.

At the trail junction-turn left onto Ramage Peak Trail; the broad fire road climbs up to a high point at 1292′ as it goes across the county line into Alameda County. The road levels out a bit to the next trail junction.

Mile 2.6-at the trail junction: turn right to stay on Ramage Peak Trail. The single track winds down from the hill into the shaded woodland before heading out along the boundary of the protected watershed land.

The trail weaves back through the beautiful forest followed by a gradual steep pitch up to the trail split at the lone oak with the rocky base-look for the orange dot trail marking.

Mile 3.45-at the unsigned trail split, you need to make a decision; if you go right and stay on Ramge Peak Trail, it will lead you around the base of the peak to the open picnic area. It does not take you up to the peak itself-Ramage Peak is located on private property.

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Or, you can choose the illicit way as we did and go left -follow the trail up the little hill to the flat top, make your way across the mine field of cow patties to the barb wired fence line. Climb over the steel gate into PRIVATE PROPERTY onto the broad fire road-you have been warned.

The super steep stair-step climb leads you up to an open flat top area with a couple of picnic tables.

Follow the single track trail up through the dry brush to the top of Ramage Peak at 1401 feet!

Enjoy the spectacular panoramic/360 degree views-WOW!

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The trail continues through the dry vegetation and rock outcroppings to the lone tree before curving its way back down to the picnic area.

Sit a while and enjoy the views!  To the east, you can see the ranches and equine facilities around Cull Canyon Rd. There’s even a nudie resort hidden in the woodlands around the canyon! To the west, you can see Sutro Tower above the fogline, parts of San Francisco, the South Bay and Mt Tam-WOW!

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Retrace your steps back down the peak-watch your footing! Climb over the gate, head back down and up through the woods on Ramage Peak Trail.

Mile 4.8-turn left at the trail post to stay on Ramage Peak Trail. Climb up the hill to the end of the trail and enter back through the gate onto Rocky Ridge Trail. Climb up Rocky Ridge Trail to the next trail gate at mile 5.23.

Mile 5.23: turn right-at the trail gate, re-enter into Las Tramas Regional Wilderness. The unmarked trail winds down into the canyon area to Devil’s Hole at Cull Creek. At the single trail sign on the large oak-stay to the left onto the unmarked Devil’s Hole Trail.

The trail emerges from the wooded canyon with a steep steady climb up to the huge rocky west face of the ridge at 1400 feet!

Look around and take in the magnificent views-you can see Ramage Peak, you’re pretty much eye-to-eye at the same elevation!

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Devil’s Hole Trail continues to climb up and up pass the rock outcroppings as it curves around the hill to the next high point at 1675 feet.

Great pano view!

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The trail winds it way back up into Contra Costa County as it inches closer to the ridge line.

Devil’s Hole Trail rolls up along the top of the outer ridge before coming to an end at the T junction to Rocky Ridge View Trail-1893 feet.

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At the Rocky Ridge View Trail junction: turn right onto Rocky Ridge-the trail runs along the top of the ridge with phenomenal views of the surrounding valleys to the east and west!

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Mile 7.2-Rocky Ridge View Trail ends at the Elderberry Trail junction: turn left onto Elderberry Trail. The trail drops down from Rocky Ridge into the beautiful oak bay woodlands. Look for the fallen tree trunk that looks like a salamander!

The trail continues in and out of the woods through a series of short ups and down to a high point at 1420 feet.

Elderberry Trail descends towards the canyon with a few more uphill pitches before dropping down onto the open grassland.

The trail winds around through the woods into the canyon along Bollinger Canyon Creek on the return to the parking lot.

This is a demanding hike with steep climbs and descents through the unspoiled remote EBMUD watershed land, it’s all ups and downs with few flat sections in between! The climbs to the top of Rocky Ridge and Ramage Peak will reward you with some of the best vistas of the Bay Area! You will enjoy the gorgeous back country and quiet calm of the less traveled wilderness area, so get your EBMUD permit and hit the trails!

Stats:
10.2 Miles with 3408′ of elevation gain
Time: 5.5 hours with a stop
Hike: Strenuous-demanding with steep climbs
Parking: No fee at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness at the end of Bollinger Canyon Rd in San Ramon
EBMUD Trail Permit Required for hiking on Rocky Ridge Loop Trail to Ramage Peak-PURCHASE & PRINT PERMIT HERE
Print Las Trampas Trail Map
Water & porta-potties available.  *The park’s water supply is inconsistent and water may be unavailable at any time.
No Dogs Allowed on EBMUD section at Rocky Ridge Loop Trail & Ramage Peak Trail
Dog Allowed on Las Trampas trails
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks-No facilities or water along the trails.

Weather: Sunny & warm. Temps ranged from the mid 60’s to mid 70’s with SW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Ramage Peak

Las Trampas Ramage Peak

Ramage Peak

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