|Trails of the Diablo Valley|
The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) owns over 27,000 acres of land in the East Bay, providing some of the most scenic and least visited trails in the area. The EBMUD lands are divided into two areas, north and south, with the boundary being Highway 24. These lands are watersheds for the reservoirs operated by EBMUD and thus have stricter usage rules than do other areas. Generally bicycles are not permitted on EBMUD trails and dogs are banned in all but a few areas and must be leashed where allowed.
A Trail Use Permit is required for all areas except Lafayette Reservoir, Lake Chabot and San Pablo Dam Reservoir Recreation Area. Permits can be obtained at Lafayette Reservoir, San Pablo Recreation Area and any EBMUD business office for a nominal fee (currently $10 for one year).
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Bear Creek Trail - Oursan Trail Loop (14 miles):
Trailhead: EBMUD Bear Creek Staging Area
Directions: From Walnut Creek take Highway 24 west to the Orinda exit and go right on Camino Pablo Road. Go 2 miles and turn right on Bear Creek Road. Go 4.2 miles and park in the Bear Creek Staging Area on the left just past the Upper Happy Valley Road intersection (Note: park in the EBMUD staging area and not the Bear Creek Staging Area on the right side of the road at Briones Regional Park).
This is a moderate 14 mile loop with a total elevation gain of 600 feet that circles Briones Reservoir. Go through the gate to the left and cross the creek to Bear Creek Trail. Turn right (going left will take you to Briones Regional Park's Bear Creek Trail) and follow the fire road for about 1 mile. The trail then becomes a really nice singletrack as it as it winds along the reservoir for 3.5 miles to the dam. Cross the dam, keeping to the left of the land fill site, and follow the signs to the Oursan Trail. Follow this fire road for 9.5 miles back to the trailhead. Nice views of the reservoir and almost complete solitude once away from the trailhead.
Notes: EBMUD trail permit required. Primitive toilet at trailhead, no drinking water. Dogs allowed on Oursan Trail segment only and must be leashed. There is a staging area located at Briones Dam Overlook, which is an ideal place for a car drop for those who only wish to do part of the trail. The Overlook is located on Bear Creek Road 1.5 miles from Camino Pablo Road and 2.7 miles before Bear Creek Staging Area.
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Rocky Ridge Loop Trail (6 miles):
Trailhead: Las Trampas Regional Wilderness Staging Area
Directions: From Walnut Creek take I-680 south to Crow Canyon Road and exit west. At Bollinger Canyon Road turn right and go to the end of the road to the staging area.
This is a strenuous 6 mile loop with a total elevation gain of 1800 feet. Go through the gate at the west end of the parking lot and begin the .75 mile climb to Upper Ridge on the paved road (Rocky Ridge Trail). After several hundred yards, take the first dirt trail on the right, this path will parallel the road, crossing it at one point, to the junction with Upper Ridge Trail. At the junction go right, through the gate into the EBMUD Watershed. Follow the road around the hill to the junction of the Rocky Ridge Loop Trail and go right. Begin descent of 1000 feet over next 1.16 miles to intersection of Rocky Ridge Trail and Rocky Ridge Loop Trail. Turn left on the Loop Trail for 1.48 relatively level miles to the intersection with Ramage Peak Trail. Again go left, staying on the Loop Trail and begin 1000 foot climb back to Upper Ridge for 1.66 miles. Once back on Upper Ridge go through the gate to the right just before the relay tower and turn left on Upper Ridge Trail. Follow back to Rocky Ridge Trail, turn right and descend to the trailhead. This trail offers outstanding views of the vast watershed lands to the west as well as an intimate introduction to the aptly named Rocky Ridge.
Notes: EBMUD trail permit required. No dogs or bicycles allowed. There are restooms, drinking water and picnic areas at the trailhead.
Rocky Ridge - King Canyon Loop (6 miles):
Trailhead: Valle Vista Staging Area
Directions: From Walnut Creek take Olympic Boulevard west to Reliez Station Road and turn left. Reliez Station Road becomes Glenside Drive after about 1/2 mile. Continue straight on Glenside Drive to St. Mary's Road and turn left. Follow St. Mary's Road to Moraga Road and turn left. Take Moraga road for 1 mile to the staging area on the left. Public Transit Information
This is a moderate 6 mile loop trail with 500 feet of elevation gain. Take Rimmer Creek Trail to the left after going through the gate for .5 mile to the junction with Rocky Ridge Trail. After a little over 2 miles King Canyon Trail will intersect. Take King Canyon Trail to the right for 3.5 miles back to the trailhead. King Canyon trail parallels the shoreline of Upper San Leandro Reservoir as it heads back to Valle Vista.
Notes: EBMUD trail permit required. Dogs are only allowed on the King Canyon Trail segment (out and back) and must be leashed. Bicycles are not allowed on watershed trails. There is no drinking water and only a primitive toilet at the trailhead.
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Directions: From Walnut Creek, take Highway 24 west to Acalannes Road, exit and turn left on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. Go .8 miles to the reservoir entrance on the right. There is a vehicle charge of $5 for all day or metered spaces are available for a 25 cents for each 15 minutes (2 hours maximum).
Notes: Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Bicycles are permitted Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to closing and Sundays from opening to 11AM on the Shore Trail only. There are boats for rent at the marina, as well as fishing from the shore. Restrooms, drinking water and picnic facilities are available at the entrance area.
Rim Trail Loop (5 miles):
This is a strenuous 5 mile loop trail that circles the reservoir and provides good views of the lake and Mt. Diablo to the east. From the parking lot go east past the picnic area and pick up the trail on the left, which immediately begins the climb to the ridge top. The trail rises and drops as it follows the ridge, often at a very steep angle. While trail signs are sporadic, if you stay on the road that follows the ridge around the lake it will eventually lead back to the entrance area.
The Shore Trail (3 miles):
This is an easy 3 mile rolling, paved trail that circles the reservoir. This trail is very popular and is used by joggers, fishing enthusiasts, families and walkers of all kinds.