One of the few remaining East Bay Regional Parks that has yet to feature is Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. This more than 5,000 acre plot of land features a network of trails which weaves through beautiful canyons and up mountainsides to stunning vistas.
To get there, make your way on to the Interstate 680 freeway. Exit on Crow Canyon Boulevard and head west until the road begins to merge into one lane. At the stoplight turn right onto Bollinger Canyon Road, and enjoy the drive. This country road provides a teaser of the tree-laden mountains to come. Drive about four miles and the road funnels into the parking lot and main staging area.
The park offers an assortment of activities, so plan your route according to your plans. Horseback riding is popular here, as is dog walking and biking. Just check the park map to figure out which trails will accommodate you.
If you’re taking a hike, or looking for a nice workout, I have a few suggestions. They all involve Rocky Ridge View Trail, a route that runs along the mountaintop. From here you are afforded stunning views of the bay and the valleys below.
For those looking for a shorter hike, just head right up Rocky Ridge View Trail from the staging area. It’s the paved route that shoots uphill right from the parking lot. This is a direct route to the best vistas.
A longer hike that features some interesting flora can be attained by starting out on Elderberry Trail. This is the trail opposite of Rocky Ridge View Trail at the staging area. It leads back around the mountain side, and up through lush forest. The path winds upward, and eventually emerges into Rocky Ridge View Trail. From there you can follow the loop all the way back down around to your vehicle.
The last option I'll suggest is a fairly exerting trek which covers a wide range of elevation. It’s even more uphill and downhill. This route incorporates Cull Creek into your hike, a destination near the bottom of the canyon below Rocky Ridge. Get there via Sycamore Trail or Devil’s Hole Trail, both off of Rocky Ridge View Trail.
These winding paths pass through a number of interesting rock formations known as the Wind Caves. Noticeably different from the rest of the park’s terrain, this zone of Las Trampas is stunning. If you have the time and the stamina, I strongly suggest adding this portion of trail to your hike.
Even if you are just looking to traverse around Rocky Ridge View Trail, there is a nice resting spot just a few minutes into Devil’s Hole Trail. Featuring towering rocks that provide seating area and wind protection, this area is worth stopping at. With nice views of the San Francisco Bay, it’s the perfect spot for a snack, or even a whole picnic.
No matter what your activity, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness is a destination of interest. If you live in the area and have never been, check out this regional park. It's a great getaway nestled conveniently close to civilization, but far enough away that you can still lose yourself in the vast openness.
At a Glance:
Las Trampas Regional Wilderness
Address: 18012 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon
Hours: 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Best time to visit: Anytime with clear skies
Great for: Hiking, dog walking, camping and picnics. Biking and horseback riding also popular on approved trails.
Could be better if: You visit after a dry spell -- Elderberry Trails tends to get wet and muddy.