Thursday, November 12, 2015
*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.
This hike goes up to Las Trampas Ridge with gorgeous panoramic vistas via Madrone and Del Amigo Trails. It drops down into Bollinger Canyon along Trapline and Mahogany to Chamise Trail. Continue through the beautiful riparian landscape along Bollinger Creek before climbing back up to Las Trampas Ridge. Descend and climb Sulphur Springs before returning to the start via Del Amigo and Virgil Williams Trails.
Begin this hike at the Las Trampas to Mt Diablo Regional Trail trail head at the end of Camille Ave in Alamo; the trail runs parallel to the private residences along Camille Lane.
Las Trampas Mt Diablo Regional Trail continues with a climb up through the eucalyptus grove past a cattle gate to the Madrone Trail junction.
Turn left onto Madrone; the trail turns slightly downhill along a seasonal creek before climbing out to the Virgil William Trail junction.
Go straight to stay on Madrone; it continues out to the open grassland to the boundary fence at Eugene O’ Neil National Historic Site. *Owned and operated by the National Park Service, this site is open to the public by reservation.
Turn right at the cattle gate and follow the trail across the grassland to the upper cattle gate at Del Amigo junction.
Enjoy the panoramic view of Mt Diablo and it’s surrounding valleys!
At Del Amigo Trail junction-turn right. The trail climbs up towards the ridge to the Virgil William junction.
Stay straight on Del Amigo; it kicks up for a super steep climb up to the Summit Trail junction.
At the Sulphur Springs/Summit Trail junction: turn left to stay on Del Amigo/Summit Trail. The broad fire road climbs up to a high point along the ridge to a scenic overlook area.
Enjoy the panoramic vistas!
Del Amigo/Summit Trail continues to climb up to the Las Trampas Ridge Trail junction.
Turn right onto Las Trampas Ridge Trail; it drops down through the shaded woodland before exiting out along the ridge.
Enjoy the panoramic views of Rocky Ridge!
The rolling terrain continues across the grassland to the Trapline/Sulphur Springs Trail junction.
Turn left onto Trapline; the trail takes you over the west side of Las Trampas Ridge for a steep semi-rocky descent through dense woodland vegetation. *The dominant woodland vegetation on the western and southern exposures of Las Trampas and Rocky ridges is black sage, chamise and buck brush. These are interspersed with toyon, hybrid manzanitas, elderberry, gooseberry, chaparral currant, sticky monkeyflower, coffeeberry, coyote bush, poison oak, hollyleaf red berry, deer weed and dozens of other species. There are some creek dogwood along Bollinger Creek.
Trapline winds its way down through the woodland towards the canyon.
At the bottom of the wooden steps-turn left at the junction onto Mahogany Trail. The trail descends further into the canyon to another set of steps leading down to a wooden bridge.
After crossing the creek, the trail climbs out of the canyon area to the Chamise Trail junction. *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 latter, with its mistletoe, seems to prefer the ridgetop habitat at the end of Chamise Trail. Half a dozen fern species are found in the park and there are large areas of grassland.
Go left onto Chamise; the trail descends through the grassland to the cattle gate off Bollinger Canyon Rd.
Cross Bollinger Canyon Rd and make your way across the meadow to an unmarked trail; turn right-the trail leads to a bridge crossing to the parking lot and picnic areas at Las Trampas Bollinger Canyon Staging Area.
Lunch stop at Shady picnic area.
Continue to the Rocky Ridge View trail head adjacent to the picnic area-make an immediate right after entering through the cattle gate. This unsigned path leads to the Bollinger Creek Loop Trail.
Bollinger Creek Loop Trail meanders through the beautiful oak/bay woodland alongside the shady Bollinger Canyon Creek.
The trail leads out of the small canyon area to the open grassland.
At the trail junction: go straight to stay on Bollinger Creek Loop Trail. The broad fire road winds up around the hill towards the ridge with a steep climb and panoramic views. *The East Bay Regional Park District leases some of the grassland areas for cattle grazing. Cattle keep the grass height down, which lessens the fire hazard during the dry season.
At Las Trampas Ridge Trail junction: turn right onto Las Trampas Ridge. The trail continues to climb up towards the ridge through the dense chaparral covered hillside.
Turn right at the Bollinger Creek Loop junction to stay on Las Trampas Ridge. The trail rolls through the woodland to the Corduroy Hills junction.
Go straight to stay on Las Trampas Ridge; the trail continues along the ridge with scenic views of Rocky Ridge, geological rock formations and Mt Diablo. *Two major Bay Area faults–the Las Trampas and Bollinger faults–account for the uplift and exposure of four well-defined geological formations.
At the Chamise Trail junction-go straight to stay on Las Trampas Ridge; the rolling terrain along the ridge takes you to a high point before descending to the lower hillside.
Enjoy the magnificent views!
The trail comes to a junction at Sulphur Springs Trail-turn left onto Sulphur Springs: the narrow trail cuts across the grassland as it winds down into a wooded canyon.
Sulphur Springs Trail goes through the beautiful shady canyon as it becomes a broad fire road on the steep climb up to Del Amigo junction.
At Del Amigo Trail junction-go straight across the bend in the road onto Del Amigo; the steep descent leads back to the Virgil William Trail junction.
Turn left on Virgil William Trail; the gentle rolling terrain runs along the hillside through the dense woodland with the occasional open views of Diablo.
Virgil William Trail comes to a T junction with Madrone Trail at the cattle gate-cross Madrone Trail to stay on Virgil William.
The trail runs alongside the boundary of the Eugene O’Neil Nat’l Historic Site to two wooden bridge crossings before winding around to the bottom of a canyon.
Virgil William Trail kicks up for a short climb up to the junction with Madrone Trail.
At the junction-turn right onto Madrone Trail. At this point, the hike retraces its way back to Las Trampas-Mt Diablo Regional Trail.
Descend Las Trampas-Mt Diablo Regional Trail to the Trailhead at Camille Ave.
This is a fantastic scenic demanding hike around Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. The quad busting steep climbs and descents up to and from Las Trampas Ridge provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the spectacular panoramic vistas and the stunning beauty of nature! Shadow and I spotted two coyotes and deer roaming the wilderness parkland. *Las Trampas Ridge, reached via Chamise and Bollinger Creek Loop trails, is east of Bollinger Creek. The view from the ridge affords the sights of the Ygnacio, San Ramon and Amador valleys, Mt. Diablo, Carquinez Straits and other distant points of interest.
9.67 Miles with 3590′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1772′
Time: 4.5 hours with a few stops
Hike: Demanding-strenuous with steep climbs and descents
Parking: Free street parking at the end of Camille Ave in Alamo
NO FACILITIES-NO WATER
Facilities and water at Bollinger Canyon staging area
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks
Weather: Sunny and cool. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to mid 60’s with NE winds.