Tuesday, May 10, 2016
*Morgan Territory is named for Jeremiah Morgan, who was born in 1818 on the banks of the Tennessee River in Alabama. Morgan and six companions crossed the plains to California by ox-drawn wagon in 1849. After a brief stint as a gold miner, Morgan left California for Iowa, only to return with his family in 1853. In 1857 he started a ranch in the area that we know as Morgan Territory after having seen the land while on a hunting expedition.
*Sandstone hills within the park’s 4,708 acres are adorned in spring with more than 90 species of wildflowers, including the Diablo sunflower, which grows only in the foothills of Mount Diablo. Deer, coyote, and even the elusive mountain lion may be seen here, and a variety of raptors frequently soar overhead.
Begin this hike from the Raven Trailhead gate on Morgan Territory Rd. Climb over the gate onto the unsigned Raven Trail.
At Raven Trail junction: turn right and head slightly downhill to the creek crossing followed by an immediate uphill through the woods.
The trail continues with a moderate climb as it exits out onto the open grassland area with wildflowers blanketing the hillsides.
At Fox Trail junction: go straight to stay on Raven Trail. It continues uphill across the expansive grassland and scattered trees with splendid views of Mt Diablo in the distant.
Raven Trail goes up along the ridge with wonderfully expanded views of the Black Hills and Mt Diablo!
Raven Trail comes to a T junction at Highland Ridge: turn left onto Highland Ridge Trail. The trail travels across the grassland atop of the beautiful ridgeline with grand vistas!
Wildflowers carpet the hillsides!
Superb Livermore Valley vistas!
The rolling terrain continues along the ridge to the park boundary junction.
Go straight to stay on Highland Ridge, the trail gently winds downhill towards the lower valley.
Wildflowers blanket the hillsides!
At the unsigned Clyma Trail split: go right onto the single track trail, it goes along the floral hillside before dropping down into a creek area.
Clyma Trail gently climbs up through the shaded woodland area to a cattle gate.
The trail exits onto the open grassland to the Mollok Trail junction.
Go straight to stay on Clyma Trail, it traverses the expansive upper meadow grassland as it darts in and out of the scattered woodland.
The trail continues around the grassy knolls with views of the parking lot at Morgan Territory Staging Area.
At the Mollok Trail junction: go straight to stay on Clyma Trail, it drops down through the shaded woodland area to a wooden bridge crossing. The trail comes to an end at Morgan Territory Rd.
Cross Morgan Territory Rd and continue up the single track to Morgan Territory Regional Preserve Staging Area parking lot.
Lunch stop at the picnic area.
Follow Volvon Trail from the picnic area to Coyote Trail junction.
Turn left onto Coyote Trail, it cuts across the valley floor to the cattle gate at Condor Trail junction.
Go left to stay on Coyote Trail, it goes along the edge of a pond area before entering the woods.
The trail travels north along a seasonal creek with piles of huge boulders and rocks perched up on both the creekbed and trail.
The trail cuts through a manzanita grove as it continues with a steep downhill.
Wildflowers and globe lilies!
Coyote Trail exits the woods for a short section with open vistas of the Black Hills.
The trail cuts back along the creek through the lush riparian and rocky landscape to Mollok Trail junction.
Go straight to stay on Coyote Trail, it continues along the creek through the gorgeous dense woodland.
The trail exits the woodland area with a moderate climb up to the cattle gate.
Coyote Trail travels across the expansive upper grassland area to Stone Corral Trail junction.
Stone Corral Trail heads northward on a moderate grade through the scattered oaks and bays up to a cattle gate.
The trail continues with uphill climbs through the trees and open grassland towards Eagle Ridge.
At Volvon Loop Trail junction, go straight to stay on Stone Corral Trail to Eagle Ridge Trail.
Go left onto Eagle Ridge Trail, it runs westward through the oak and bay woodland to Hog Canyon Trail junction.
At Hog Canyon Trail junction: go straight to stay on Eagle Ridge Trail. It continues west with a gentle climb to the upper meadows.
Grazing cattle dot the open grassy pastoral hills!
At Bay Creek Trail junction: turn left onto Bay Creek, it gently winds downhill through the shaded bay trees to the trail gate at Morgan Territory Rd.
Turn left on Morgan Territory Rd for the short walk back to Raven Trailhead.
This is a gorgeous hike through the remote and expansive parkland at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. The ridgeline roll along Highland offers prime views of Mt Diablo and the dense Black Hills! You’ll enjoy the gorgeous shaded stroll along the creek on Coyote Trail, the lush riparian landscape and the displays of wildflowers!
*According to Native American folklore, at the dawn of time, Tuyshtak (today’s Mount Diablo) was the sacred birthplace of the world. Supernatural beings, the First People, lived here. The First People are often designated with the names of the animals whose attributes are reflected in their personalities-animals such as Condor (Mollock), Prairie Falcon, Eagle and Coyote. These personages created Native Americans, and provided them with a bountiful, beautiful world. Most of the park’s trails are named to commemorate these First People (Coyote, Fox and Eagle trails), while other names refer to natural features (Valley View, Blue Oak and Highland Ridge trails). Hog Canyon and Jeremiah trails harken back to the park’s ranching past.
*Expansive ridgetop views reveal Mount Diablo to the west, Mount St. Helena to the north and the snow-covered Sierra to the east. Lowland valleys cradle the headwaters of Marsh Creek.
9.2 Miles with 2231′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2293′
Time: 5 hours with multiple stops
Hike: Challenging with steep climbs
No Fee Parking: At Raven Trail trailhead at gate 51-66 (No signage) approx 6.7 miles on Morgan Territory Rd from Marsh Creek Rd.
Limited parking for ~3-4 cars only (after gate 51-65 at Bay Creek Tr)
Bring plenty water & food/snacks
Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranging from the mid 60’s to high 70’s with SW > NW winds
Directions: Raven Tr > R-stay on Raven Tr > At Fox Tr junction go straight stay on Raven Tr > L-Highland Ridge Tr > R-unsigned Clyma Tr junction > R-stay on Clyma Tr > S at Mollock Tr junction to stay on Clyma Tr > exit Clyma Tr > X-Morgan Territory Rd > follow path to Morgan Territory Regional Preserve Staging & Picnic Area > S-Volvon Tr > L-Coyote Tr > R-Stone Corral Tr > L-Eagle Tr > L Bay Creek Tr > L-Morgan Territory Rd > Raven Trailhead