Sunol Wilderness: Canyon View-McCorkle-Cerro Este-Eagle View-Vista Grande-High Valley-Cave Rocks-Indian Joe Creek Trail Hike

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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Bedrock mortars used by Native Americans for pounding acorns that were found in the area are reminders of Sunol’s first inhabitants. For the past century, however, the land known today as Sunol Regional Wilderness was used almost exclusively as ranch land. Under the East Bay Regional Park District’s multi-use land management policy, cattle continue to graze in the 6,859-acre wilderness. Today, camping, picnicking, hiking, back-packing, and equestrian trail rides attract thousands of park visitors a year. Visitors should bring drinking water because there is no drinking water in the park. *1

Make your way from the parking area to the foot bridge across Alameda Creek.

Turn right onto the Indian Joe Nature Trail, it goes south along the creek to the Hayfield Trail junction.

Go straight to stay on Indian Joe Nature Trail, it continues to meander through the lush shady riparian woodland.

Follow the signs to stay on the Indian Joe Nature Trail towards Canyon View Trail.

Wildflowers!

At the Indian Joe Creek Trail junction, go straight onto Canyon View Trail. It climbs uphill with a moderate grade through the scattered oak woodland.

Wildflowers!

The trail narrows to a single track as it continues to ascend through the woodland and sandstone outcrops out across the open grassland.

Enjoy the panoramic view!

At the McCorkle/Little Yosemite junction, turn left onto McCorkle. The trail turns eastward on a gentle slope as it winds around the hillsides across the expansive grassland.

At the next signpost, turn right to stay on McCorkle Trail. The narrow single track cuts through the thick chaparral-covered slope as it drops down towards a hidden densely wooded canyon area.

Wildflowers!

The trail climbs out from under the oak woodland to the open grassland before reaching the junction at Cerro Este Rd.

Go left onto Cerro Este, it gently travels across the grassland through the scattered oaks to the beautiful old stone junction marker.

Continue left at the junction to stay on Cerro Este Trail to Cerro Este Overlook. The trail winds uphill with magnificent views of Calaveras Reservoir!

Enjoy the panoramic views!

Follow the sign at the next junction to Cerro Este Overlook, the trail continues around the hill with wonderful views of the surrounding ridges east of Calaveras Valley.

Arrive at Cerro Este Overlook-enjoy the glorious panoramic views!

At the junction, go left onto Cave Rocks Rd. It winds around the hillside across the grassland before dropping downhill towards the creek.

Wildflowers!

At the Cave Rocks/Eagle View junction, go right onto Eagle View Trail. The single track continues around the hillside before cutting in and out through the oak woodland to the next trail junction.

Wildflowers!

At the Eagle View Rd junction, turn right to stay on Eagle View Trail. The single track quickly drops down into the wooded canyon across a seasonal creek.

The steep climb out of the canyon leads to a single track along the hillside slope above High Valley.

Wildflowers!

The trail cuts through dense chaparral with expanding views of the “Valley of the Giants”

Enjoy the gorgeous panoramic views!

Eagle View Trail continues across the splendid upper grassland to Vista Grande Overlook.

Enjoy the views of Calaveras Reservoir and Maguire Peaks! You can even see Mt Diablo!

At the junction, go straight onto Vista Grande Rd, it travels westward along the open ridge.

Wildflowers!

Lunch stop at a hilltop overlook. Take in the wonderful views!

Continue on Vista Grande Rd, the rolling terrain along the ridge provides fabulous views of Calaveras Reservoir, Mt Diablo, and Maguire Peaks!

Wildflowers!

The road drops down into High Valley to the next junction.

Wildflowers!

Go left onto High Valley Rd, it turns eastward through the valley towards High Valley Camp.

At the trail split, go left onto the unmarked Cave Rocks Rd. The trail continues eastward along the flat valley with gorgeous views of the old barn followed by a short pitch up and over the hill to High Valley Pond.

The trail drops slightly downhill across a creek to the next junction.

At Cave Rocks/Indian Joe Creek Trail junction, turn right onto Indian Joe Creek Trail. It turns southward through the shaded riparian woodland along the east side of the creek.

Stop at Indian Joe Cave Rocks. Exploration will reveal sandstone outcrops with fossils deposited in what was once an ancient seabed. Great boulders of greenstone, schist, and metachert indicate a turbulent past. The massive basalt outcrop at Indian Joe Cave Rocks provides sport and challenge to rock climbers. *1

At the Hayfield Rd junction, go straight to stay on Indian Joe Creek Trail. It continues in and out through the beautiful shaded woodland canyon with a few creek crossings.

The trail rolls along the scenic creekside before reaching the next junction at Indian Joe Nature Trail.

Turn right onto Indian Joe Nature Trail along Alameda Creek and retrace your steps back to the foot bridge. Alameda Creek, Alameda County’s largest stream, harbors an inviting creekside community of alder, willow, and sycamore. Coast live oaks abound along with valley and blue oak, elderberry, madrone and gray pine. Spring brings wildflowers, including California poppies, mustard, goldfields, and lupines, which carpet vast areas in yellow, orange and blue. *1

Hit the trails to check out all the wildflowers before they fade away and before the weather gets too hot. The hike up to the ridge top offers spectacular vistas of the “Valley of the Giants!”

*1 http://www.ebparks.org/parks/sunol#about

Stats:
7.74 Miles with 1987′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1736′
Time: 4 hours with multiple stops
Hike: Moderate with a few short steep climbs
Parking: Sunol Regional Wilderness at the end of Geary Rd to the park entrance.
$5 parking fee and $2 per dog fee, seasonal, weekends, and holidays
Water near the Visitors Center & pit toilets available
Dog Friendly
Bring water & food/snacks

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

Directions: Cross the foot bridge > R-Indian Joe Nature Tr > S -Canyon View Tr > L-McCorkle Tr > R-stay on McCorkle Tr > L-Cerro Este Rd > L-stay on Cerro Este Rd to Cerro Este Overlook > Cerro Este Overlook > L-Cave Rocks Rd > R-Eagle View Tr > R-stay on Eagle View Tr > S- Vista Grande Rd > L-High Valley Rd > L-Cave Rocks Rd > R-Indian Joe Creek Tr > Cave Rocks > S-stay on Indian Joe Creek Tr > R-Indian Joe Nature Tr > L-foot bridge > parking area

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