Dublin Hills: Martin Canyon Creek-Donlon Canyon-Calaveras Ridge Trail Hike

Thursday, December 7, 2017

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Dublin Hills Regional Park spans approximately 654 acres within an undeveloped open space corridor consisting of a main ridge that connects Donlon Point on the Park’s southern boundary to Wiedemann Hill located on adjacent private property to the north, interspersed with steep-sloped canyons.  The parkland is bounded by Interstate 580 to the south, Schaefer Ranch to the southwest, private grazing land to the north, northeast and northwest, and California Highlands on the southeast.*1

This hike goes for a clockwise loop around Donlon Canyon followed by an out and back stretch along Calaveras Ridge from the Martin Canyon Creek Trail in Dublin.

Begin from the Martin Canyon Creek Trail off Bay Laurel St.

Stay on the paved path to the trailhead, it heads westward along the creek through the scented bay woodland.

The trail cuts in and out of the woodland area up to the end of Dry Creek Dr.

Go straight to stay on Martin Canyon Creek Trail, it continues westerly along the edge of the neighborhood with views of the surrounding hills.

The city trail ends at the trail gate into Dublin Hills Regional Park. Martin Canyon Creek Trail continues through the dense shaded oak/bay riparian woodland. Dublin Hills has several minor valleys and swales that collect and drain water seasonally into Palomares Creek and Dublin Creek, located south of I-580. Several streams and springs maintain seasonal flow through the park’s steep drainages. Most headwaters of these streams begin in open grassland and drain into dense coastal live oak and California bay woodland.*1

The trail winds up along the creek through the beautiful canyon area.

Martin Canyon Creek Trail exits the woodland out towards the upper grassland to trail post #12 at Donlon Loop Trail junction.

Go straight onto Donlon Loop Trail, it turns southeasterly as it rolls along the top of the ridge.

Enjoy the panoramic views!

At the rock croppings near the bottom of the hill, make an immediate right turn and follow the trail downhill to trail post #8.

Enter through the gate and continue downhill.

The single track trail drops down into Donlon Canyon through the riparian woodland along Dublin Creek.

Donlon Loop Trail exits onto the end of Brigadoon Way. Turn right at McBride Ln, walk behind the residential and make another right onto Donlon Loop Trail.

Donlon Loop Trail turns west as it gently climbs out from the canyon through the woodland to the open grassland.

At trail post #7, turn right to stay on Donlon Loop Trail as it continues uphill along Dublin Creek. California annual grassland is the dominant plant community in Dublin Hills and covers approximately 300 acres of the ridgelands. The grassland is composed of native and non-native annual and perennial grasses interspersed with many species of native and non-native forbs. Grasslands also extend under the woodland canopy along the edges of the oak-bay woodlands. *1

At trail post #6, turn left onto Calaveras Ridge Trail, it continues with a moderate climb past the stock pond and cattle trough to trail post #5 at Calaveras Ridge Trail.

Turn right and head north on Calaveras Ridge Trail, it winds around uphill followed by a drop to the cattle gate.

Enjoy the views!

Calaveras Ridge Trail continues north through the expansive pastoral grassland and scattered eucalyptus stands. A segment of the Calaveras Ridge Regional Trail, provide local access and offer excellent views for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. The Calaveras Ridge Trail begins near the Schaefer Ranch development and soon delivers you to grassland areas largely untouched since the 1800s.*1

At trail post #9, go straight to stay on Calaveras Ridge Trail. It cuts across the grassland with panoramic views of the ridges and canyons.

The trail leads to a steep climb towards the transmission towers.

Calaveras Ridge Trail levels out as it travels around the hillside to trail post #10 at Calaveras Ridge.

Optional: turn right and continue another 1/4 mile uphill to trail post #11.

Grazing cattle along Calaveras Ridge Trail.

Enjoy the glorious panoramic views!

Turn around and make your way back along Calaveras Ridge. Pick a spot along the ridge for a snack break.

Return south across the grassland, past the eucalyptus stands to the second cattle gate.

Turn left onto a No Name cattle trail along the wooden fenceline, the single track turns eastward across the hills towards the ridgeline.

The No Name trail stays along the ridge to the gorgeous rock outcroppings at the upper knoll. Most of the bedrock geology of Dublin Hills consists of shale, sandstone, and conglomerate. The sandstone and conglomerate units form the ridges and knolls, while the slopes and valleys are underlain with softer shale.*1

The trail drops downhill across the lower grassland onto Martin Canyon Creek Trail.

Turn left at the T junction and return on Martin Canyon Creek Trail to the park boundary.

Stay on Martin Canyon Creek Trail to Silvergate Dr.

This is a wonderfully scenic hike through the beautiful canyons and creeks at Dublin Hills Regional Park. You’ll enjoy the spectacular panoramic vistas along Calaveras Ridge and the glorious dense oak/bay riparian woodlands!

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

7.69 Miles with 1473′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1180′
Time: 3.75 hrs with multiple stops
Hike: Challenging
Parking: Street parking on Silvergate Dr/Bay Laurel St in Dublin
Martin Canyon Creek Trailhead off Bay Laurel St
No Facilities
Dog friendly

Weather: Sunny and cool. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the mid 60’s with ESE > ENE winds.

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