Sunol Wilderness: Maguire Peaks Trail Hike

Monday, June 12, 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, backpacking, 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

Park your car on the left side (eastbound) of Welch Creek Rd at the wide spot a little beyond mile marker 1.60 in Sunol. Cross the creek on the left and begin the hike from Trail Post #5-Upper Maguire Peaks Trail.

Follow the narrow single track through the wooded canyon.

The trail turns westward across the hillside on a gentle incline out of the canyon area. Watch your footing, the trail narrows to less than a foot wide!

Upper Maguire Peaks Trail continues along the slope with wonderful open views of the surrounding parklands.


The trail cuts in and out of the scattered oaks before reaching the upper grassland area.

Follow the trail arrow marker, it travels across the open grassy pastoral meadows dotted with grazing cattle.

Turn right at Trail Post #7 to Maguire Peaks Rd, the trail turns northward as it continues on a gentle uphill.

Enjoy the views of Maguire Peaks and its surrounding hills and ridges!

The trail drops downhill through the oak woodland to the next trail post/junction (no#).

Turn left onto the unmarked trail, the single track turns westward as it gradually climbs uphill.

Follow the trail arrow markers, it travels in and out through the scattered oaks and cuts across the open grassland.

Turn right at the nex trail arrow marker, it climbs uphill through the high grass onto Maguire Peaks Loop Trail!

Maguire Peaks Loop Trail travels westward towards a broad saddle area between the hills.

Enjoy the beautiful panoramic views!

The trail turns northward as it continues around the hillside.


Maguire Peaks Loop Trail opens up to fantastic distant views of Sunol Valley!

The trail continues with a moderate climb as it turns eastward to the scenic bench overlook area.


Enjoy the spectacular views!

Follow the narrow single track behind the bench to continue on up to Maguire Peaks.

The stiff steep climb goes across the grassy slope along the rugged sandstone outcrops to the lower peak.

Wildflowers and a lizard!

Enjoy the glorious panoramic views!

Stay on the single track trail, it continues uphill to Maguire Peak.

Arrive at Maguire Peak at 1688 feet.

Enjoy the 360-degree views around Sunol Regional Wilderness!

Retrace your steps downhill to the scenic bench. From there, go right and continue on Maguire Peaks Loop Trail, it drops down through the woodland as it heads east along the north side of the peak.


The broad fire road exits the woodland area as it rolls around the hillside to the next junction.

At Trail Post #7, turn right onto Maguire Peaks Trail, it continues downhill to Trail Post #8.

Stay straight onto Maguire Peaks Rd, it continues through the woodland to the next trail post (no#).

Retrace your steps on Maguire Rd to Trail Post #7.

Go straight to stay on Maguire Peaks Rd, the broad fire trail drops down from the upper meadow to what appears to be an old homestead site.

The area has a variety of trees; ranging from oaks, redwoods and pines to the non-native eucalyptus.

The trail continues downhill to the trail gate at Trail Post #6.

Turn left onto Welch Rd for the return to the start at mile marker 1.60.

This moderate hike provides phenomenal views of Sunol Valley, San Antonio Reservoir, Mission Peak, Mt Diablo, Pleasanton Ridge and beyond! So strap up your hiking boots, take the trails less traveled and explore the beautiful quiet remote northwest area of Sunol Regional Wilderness. You’ll love it!


6.42 Miles with 1406′ of elevation gain
Max Elevation: 1690′
Time: 3.75-4 hours with multiple stops
Hike: Moderate with a steep climb up Maguire Peaks
Parking: Free parking on Welch Creek Rd a little beyond mile marker 1.60 (Parking permit required on Welch Creek Road (no fee)-weekends only. Inquire at entry kiosk or visitor center. No facilities & no water. Cross the creek at Trail Post 5 to Upper Maguire Peaks Trail
Bring water & food/snacks
Dog friendly

Weather: Cool and partly cloudy > sunny and warm. Temps ranging from the mid 50’s to the low 70’s with SW winds

Direction: Welch Creek Rd Mile Marker 1.60 > Cross the creek at Trail Post #5 to Upper Maguire Peaks Tr > R-Mile Post #7 to Maguire Peak Tr > L-Maguire Peaks Rd/Maguire Peaks Loop/Welch Crk Trail Post (no#) > L-Trail Post #11 onto Maguire Peaks Loop Tr > Scenic Bench Overlook > R-unmarked trail to Maguire Peak (steep climb) > Maguire Peak > U-Maguire Peak to Scenic Bench Overlook > R > Continue on Maguire Peaks Loop Tr > R > Trail Post #9-Maguire Peak Tr > S-Trail Post #8-Maguire Peak Rd/Tr > S-Trail Post #7-Maguire Peaks Rd > L-Trail Post #6-Welch Creek Rd to Mile Marker 1.60

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