Las Trampas: Del Amigo-Virgil Williams-Madrone Trail Hike


Thursday, October 5, 2017

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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.*1

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. Half a dozen fern species are found in the park and there are large areas of grassland.*1

This figure eight hike traverses around the eastern area of Las Trampas Regional Wilderness from Del Amigo Trail up to Virgil Williams Trail and Madrone Trail towards Ringtail Cat Trail. The route includes the use of three no-name cattle trails around the upper loop before passing along the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site on Madrone Trail.

Begin this hike from a little-used trailhead at the end of Starview Dr in Danville.

Go straight onto Del Amigo Trail, it goes uphill along the east end of the neighborhood towards the oak woodland.

The trail levels out as it winds under the oak woodland followed by a steep climb up to the cattle gate.

Del Amigo enters the parkland as it goes across the open grassland to the next trail junction with wonderful views of Mt Diablo and Ygnacio Valley!

At the Madrone Trail junction, go straight to stay on Del Amigo. The trail continues eastward with a steep climb up to the Virgil Williams Trail junction.

Turn right on Virgil William; the gentle rolling terrain travels northward along the hillside through the dense woodland with the occasional open views of Diablo.

Virgil William Trail drops downhill before coming 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 with a steep climb up to the Madrone Trail junction.

Turn right onto Madrone Trail, it continues with an uphill climb to the Las Trampas-Mt Diablo Trail junction.

Turn left onto Madrone Trail followed by an immediate right turn towards the cattle gate onto No-Name cattle trail #1. No-Name Trail #1 traverses through the shaded oak-bay woodlands.

The cattle trail rises northward with a steep uphill as it exits the woodland area out through the open grasslands onto Madrone Trail.

Turn left onto Madrone, the trail turns westward through the scattered oak woodland and upper meadows.

Madrone continues across the open grassland to the Ringtail Cat Trail junction with views of Mt Diablo!

At the Ringtail Cat junction, go straight onto No-Name Trail #2. The single track cattle trail continues westward along the hillside through the scattered oak woodland.

The trail kicks up slightly as it heads uphill towards Madrone Trail.

Group stop underneath the large oaks.

Make your way onto Madrone Trail, turn right and head uphill.

At the next trail split, turn left onto No-Name Trail #3. The single track cattle trail turns easterly cuts across the open hillside with a slight climb.

The trail continues across the pastoral meadow with views of Mt Diablo as it re-connects with Madrone Trail.

Turn right onto Madrone, the trail continues eastward as it drops downhill through the woodlands followed by a gentle climb up to a high-point at Corduroy Hills Trail junction.

Go straight to stay on Madrone Trail, it drops downhill to the Las Trampas Mt Diablo Trail junction.

Turn right to stay on Madrone Trail, it leads back to the Virgil Williams Trail junction.

Go Straight to stay on Madrone, the broad fire road continues downhill through the shaded woodland along a seasonal creek to the next Virgil Williams Trail junction.

Go straight to stay on Madrone; it continues across to the open meadow 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, follow the trail across the meadow and uphill to the cattle gate at Del Amigo junction.

Enjoy the panoramic view of Mt Diablo and it’s surrounding valleys!

Turn left onto Del Amigo Trail and retrace the route back to the trailhead at the end of Starview Dr.

This is a wonderfully scenic hilly hike that goes along the forged cattle trails around the eastern region of Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. The steep climb up “Hell Amigo” will get your heart rate up and going for the rest of the route! You’ll enjoy the shaded canyon woodlands, the expansive grassland areas and the views of Mt Diablo!

*1 http://www.ebparks.org/parks/las_trampas

Stats:
5.76 Miles with 1589′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1078′
Time: 2.15 hrs with one stop
Hike: Challenging
Parking: No fee-street parking at the end of Starview Dr in Danville
No facilities-plan accordingly
Dog-friendly

Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the high 70’s with SE > SW winds.

Directions: Starview Dr > Del Amigo Tr > L-stay on Del Amigo > R-Virgil Williams Tr > S-stay on Virgil Williams Tr >  R-Madrone Tr > L-R onto no name cattle trail #1> L-Madrone Tr > S-thru gate onto no name cattle trail #2 > STOP-under oak trees > R-onto Madrone Tr > L-onto no name cattle trail #3 > R-Madrone Tr > R-stay on Madrone Tr > S-stay on Madrone Tr > L-Del Amigo Tr > Starview Dr

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