Brushy Peak: Laughlin Ranch-Tamcan-Brushy Peak-West Side Loop Trail Hike

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

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*Brushy Peak is a 1,702-foot landmark at the juncture of the San Francisco Bay Area, the California Delta, and the Central Valley. The peak and its environs have been recognized as sacred by generations of native Californians. Due to its geographical position, the area lies at the center of a network of ancient trade routes that linked Bay Area Ohlones, Bay Miwoks, and Northern Valley Yokuts, who were drawn to the area for economic, social, and ceremonial events.

This counter-clock loop hike takes you through the gentle rolling hills on Laughlin Ranch Loop and Tamcan Trails before climbing up along Brushy Peak Loop Trail to the beautiful sandstone rock outcrops at Brushy Peak. Descend West Side Loop Trail back to Laughlin Ranch staging area.

Begin this hike from Brushy Peak Regional Preserve-Laughlin Ranch Staging Area at the end of Laughlin Rd in Livermore.

Follow the gravel path from the parking lot to the Laughlin Ranch Loop Trail gate.

At the unsigned trail split-go right and continue through the next cattle gate; the trail travels southward on a gentle grade up to the top of the ridge.

Enjoy the gorgeous Livermore Valley and Brushy Peak vistas!

At the Dyer Ranch Trail junction-go left to stay on Laughlin Ranch Loop. The trail winds along the ridge line with views of the Altamont Pass wind turbines.

At the trail post-turn left, Laughlin Ranch Loop drops down from the ridge as it winds back towards the valley; the trail comes to a T junction at Tamcan Trail.

Turn right onto Tamcan; the trail travels uphill to a high point with gentle grades as it continues snaking northward through the beautiful soft rolling hills.

Enjoy the views!

Tamcan drops down from the lower ridge to the cattle gate at the T junction with Brushy Peak Loop Trail.

Turn right onto Brushy Peak Loop Trail-the trail tilts up for a climb along a seasonal creek to the next cattle gate.

Enter through the gate, turn left to stay on Brushy Peak Loop; the trail kicks up with an immediate steep climb to the ridge.

Enjoy the gorgeous valley views and ridge top wind turbines!

Brushy Peak Loop Trail levels out as it continues through the open grassland with great views of the surrounding hills and Brushy Peak!

At the Brushy Peak Loop Trail junction-turn right to stay on Brushy Peak; the trail gently ascends through the rolling hills towards the summit.

The trail narrows as it continues through a scattering of beautiful formed sandstone rock outcroppings and squirrel burrows.

These two formations looks like snake heads with its eyes, nostrils and mouths-can you see it?

Brushy Peak Loop Trail continues uphill  towards the ridge top stonewall.

Follow the trail through the impressive sandstone rock outcrops and scattered oak woodlands.

Brushy Peak Loop Trail continues westward on semi-rocky terrain as it levels out towards a open clearing near the peak.

Continue across the rock studded grassland to the unmarked path to Brushy Peak.

Turn left-it leads you up to the serene woodland area surrounded by huge moss and lichen covered rock outcrops.

Retrace your steps back onto the main trail; it gradually winds down through the open grasslands dotted with rock outcrops.

The trail continues downhill with scenic views.

Brushy Peak Loop Trail travels southward as it continues down into the valley alongside a seasonal creek to the T junction at West Side Loop Trail.

At Westside Trail junction-turn right onto Westside; the trail tilts up for a short steep climb up to the ridge.

Enjoy the magnificent views of Brushy Peak and the rolling hills around Livemore Valley!



Westside Trail continues south through the grasslands along the ridge with glorious views of the verdant hills!

The trail winds down hill with open views of the barns and farm house at Laughlin Ranch.

As you near the bottom of the hill, the Altamont Pass wind turbines come into view!

When you reach the cattle gate-go straight at the Westside Trail junction and follow the unsigned trail back to the Laughlin Ranch staging area parking lot.

*This land has attracted people’s interest for millennia. A network of ancient trade routes once linked indigenous people of these different regions: the Ohlone tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Bay Miwoks of the Delta and Mt. Diablo, and the Northern Valley Yokut peoples who journeyed to Brushy Peak, the heart of a landscape, which is recognized by native Californians as sacred. They were drawn to the peak for its abundant bird life, and scenic views, for economic, social, and ceremonial events. Indigenous peoples of this region consider Brushy Peak and the surrounding landscape to be central to their traditional stories, cultures, and religion

This is a wonderful scenic hike through the beautiful valley grasslands up to the spectacular sandstone rock outcroppings around Brushy Peak. You’ll surely enjoy the incredible ridge top vistas and the draw of the quiet calm and serenity around the Preserve!


6.7 Miles with 1335′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1383′
Time: 2.5 hours with a stop
Hike: Easy with the exception of a few short steep climbs
Parking: Free parking at Brushy Peak Regional Preserve-Laughlin Ranch Staging Area at the end of Laughlin Rd in Livermore
Water & pit toilets available
Dog Friendly-must be leashed at all times in the Preserve
Bring water & food/snacks

Weather: Overcast & cool with partial fog. Temps ranged from mid 50’s with NW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Brushy Peak

Print Brushy Peak Trail Map

Brushy Peak Map


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