Trails of the Diablo Valley
East Bay Regional Park District Trails
East Bay Municipal Utility District Trails
Walnut Creek Open Space Trails
Great Northern California Trails
In addition to the trails located in various parks there are many other trails in the Diablo Valley that are not associated with a particular area, but rather connect or traverse several areas. Some of these trail segments may be partially described in other sections of this site but this page contains a complete description of the whole trail. In addition there are a number of agencies that only operate one small area and thus may have only a limited trail system.
East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail (31 miles):
This 31 mile scenic trail offers panoramic views of the metropolitan San Francisco Bay Area as it traverses the Berkeley/Oakland Hills and six Regional Parks. The description of this trail corresponds to the East Bay Park trail map for the East Bay Skyline National Trail which is divided into seven sections, each of which can be a hike in itself. The north end of the trail begins in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park and the trail ends at the Proctor Gate staging Area on Redwood Road just north of Castro Valley. There are many access points along the trail and the main ones are mentioned in the trail description.
Notes: The trail description runs from north to south, beginning at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park and is marked with signs identifying it as the Skyline National Trail, making it easy to follow. In addition to being named The Skyline National Trail most sections of the trail have a name given by the park it passes through and are referred to as such on trail maps for each park. To help with directions I will use the park trail name for clarity. As with all other trails described on this site, I have only included descriptions of those sections of the trail that I have personally done and will add sections as I complete them.
About Maps: There is a map for each trail segment as well as a link to the park map that segment goes through. The full Trailmap for the East Bay Skyline National Trail is 183K.
Wildcat Canyon to Inspiration Point:
Directions: From Walnut Creek take Highway 24 west to the Orinda exit and exit right on Camino Pablo Road. Continue past Wildcat Canyon Road where Camino Pablo Road will become San Pablo Dam Road and past San Pablo Dam Recreation Area several miles to the intersection of San Pablo Avenue. Turn left and go several blocks to McBryde Avenue and turn left. Take McBryde Avenue to the Alvarado Staging Area on Wildcat Canyon Parkway.
Distance: 7.14 miles. Elevation change: climbs 800 feet. From the Alvarado Staging Area take Wildcat Creek Trail to Belgum Trail and turn left. Climb to San Pablo Ridge Trail and go right. The trail will become Nimitz Way as you begin an approximitly 4 mile stretch of pave multi-use trail to Inspiration Point (Note: dogs must be leashed along the paved section). This section of trail passes through rolling grassy hills and oak/madrone/bay forest. Along Nimitz Way there are Monterey, Coulter, and Ponderosa pines.
Notes: There are restrooms, drinking water and picnic areas located in Alvardo Park adjacent to the staging area and at Inspiration Point. Dogs must be leashed along the paved section.
|Trailmap (48K) Open Map in New Window|
|Wildcat Canyon Trailmap (73K) Open Map in New Window|
Inspiration Point to Lomas Cantadas:
Directions: From Walnut Creek take Highway 24 west to the Orinda exit and exit right on Camino Pablo Road. At Wildcat Canyon Road turn left and go to the Inspiration Point Overlook parking area on the right.
Distance: 3.04 miles. Elevation change: Climbs 860 feet. Take the Curran Trail for .13 miles to Seaview Trail and go left. Vollmer Peak at 1,913 feet is the highest point along the trail. At the Vollmer Peak Trail turn right to Lomas Cantadas staging area. Mt. Tamalpais and the Golden Gate to the west, Mt. Diablo to the east and Mt. St. Helena to the north are all visible from this section of trail.
Notes: Restrooms, drinking water and picnic area are located at the trailhead and at Lomas Cantadas.
|Trailmap (22K) Open Map in New Window|
|Tilden Trailmap (141K) Open Map in New Window|
Lomas Cantadas to Sibley Preserve:
Directions: from Walnut Creek take Highway 24 west and exit at Fish Ranch Road just before the Caldecott Tunnel. Go .8 miles and turn right (north) onto Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Continue to the Lomas Cantadas staging area at Tilden Park (parking area for the steam trains).
Distance: 3.4 miles. Elevation change: Drops 600 feet, then climbs 300 feet. Cross Lomas Cantadas Road and pick up the trail at the crosswalk. This section of the trail passes through East Bay Municipal Utility District watershed lands as it passes over the Caldecott Tunnel and follows the old wagon road to Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve.
Notes: Restooms, drinking water and picnic area located at the trailhead and at Sibley Preserve. No bicycles allowed on this section of trail. No dogs allowed on the section of trail on EBMUD land (Lomas Cantadas to Fish Ranch Road).
|Trailmap (28K) Open Map in New Window|
|Sibley Trailmap (43K) Open Map in New Window|
Sibley Preserve to Skyline Gate:
Directions: from Walnut Creek take Highway 24 west and exit at Fish Ranch Road just before the Caldecott Tunnel. Go .8 miles and turn left (south) onto Grizzly Peak Boulevard for 2.4 miles and turn left at Skyline Boulevard. Drive about 1/4 mile to the park entrance on the left.
Distance: 2.94 miles. Elevation change: Drops 480 feet, then climbs 200 feet. Pick up the trail behind the information kiosk and go right towards Redwood Park. This section of trail is an extremely nice singletrack all the way to Skyline Gate. A favorite of bird watchers and plant lovers, it provides plenty of shade as it makes its way through Sibley and Huckleberry Regional Preserves to Redwood Regional Park.
Notes: Restrooms and drinking water located at the trailhead and at Skyline Gate. No bicycles are permitted on this section of trail. Dogs are allowed in Huckleberry Preserve on the Skyline Trail only.
|Trailmap (7K) Open Map in New Window|
|Huckelberry Trailmap (39K) Open Map in New Window|
Skyline Gate to MacDonald Gate:
Directions: from Walnut Creek take Highway 24 west and exit at Fish Ranch Road just before the Caldecott Tunnel. Go .8 miles and turn left (south) onto Grizzly Peak Boulevard for 2.4 miles and turn left at Skyline Boulevard. Go past Sibley and Huckelberry Parks and just after passing the intersection with Canyon Road the Skyline gate Staging Area will be on the left.
Distance: 5.03 miles (6+ with French Trail option). Elevation change: Climbs 200 feet, then drops 900 feet. This section of the trail offers a choice: you may follow the West Ridge Trail along the higher elevation, or split off at the French Trail (highly recommended!) to drop into the redwood groves. If you wish to take the French Trail, turn left after .56 miles on the West Ridge Trail and continue to the junction of Orchard Trail, approximately 4 miles, and go right to rejoin the West Ridge Trail where you go left for .6 miles to the Golden Spike Trail. Go right for .75 miles to the MacDonald Trail.
Notes: Primitive toilets and drinking water located at the trailhead.
|Trailmap (30K) Open Map in New Window|
|Redwood Trailmap (184K) Open Map in New Window|
MacDonald Gate to Bort Meadow:
Distance: 2.74 miles. Elevation change: Climbs 500 feet, then drops 300 feet.
|Trailmap (17K) Open Map in New Window|
|Chabot Trailmap (148K) Open Map in New Window|
Bort Meadow to Proctor Gate:
Distance: 6.56 miles. Elevation change: Climbs 320 feet, then drops 600 feet.
|Trailmap (26K) Open Map in New Window|
|Chabot Trailmap (148K) Open Map in New Window|
Old Moraga Ranch Trail (8 miles out and back):
Trailhead: Rancho Laguna Park, Moraga
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 to Camino Pablo and turn left and go approximately 1 mile to Rancho Laguna Park on the left.
A strenuous 4 mile linear trail with a combined out and back altitude gain of 1200 feet. Pick up the trail by going towards Canyon Road for .2 miles and picking up the trail as it crosses Camino Pablo. Take the trail to the right through Sanders Ranch for a short distance (take the sidewalk on the left and not the paved path on the right). Follow the trail sign as the trail turns to the left after about .2 miles. The trail is well signed as it crosses a creek and then enters open range land. The trail runs 4 miles to Bollinger Canyon Road with the only other access being from St. Mary's College. There is no access from Bollinger Canyon Road so this trail is, in effect, an 8 mile out and back. The trail consists of a series of steep grades, often in the 30-45 degree range, over its entire length. I do not recommend this trail for a leisurely walk, but if you are looking for a challenge or a trail to give you a vigorous workout this is it. Good views of Rocky Ridge to the east from St. Mary's Peak.
Notes: Restrooms, drinking water and picnic area as well as a warm-up, cool-down, strengthening area are located at Rancho Laguna Park. Dogs must be leashed at Rancho Laguna and until through the trail gate behind Sanders Ranch. Trail managed by East Bay Regional Park District.
Mount Wanda (2+ miles):
Trailhead: Alhambra Road and Franklin Canyon Road, Martinez
Directions: From Walnut Creek take I-680 North and exit West on Highway 4. Take Highway 4 to the Alhambra exit and exit south (left). Go under the highway and park in the lot on the right just past Franklin Canyon Road. Public Transit Information
An easy 2.5 mile partial loop with a total elevation gain of 450 feet. Take the fire road to the left as you face the mountain and climb 350 feet in .5 miles. At the junction of The Nature Trail go right and follow the singletrack Nature Trail for 1 mile back to the fire road. Turn left on the fire road and take back to the trailhead. For runners The Nature Trail Loop makes a great 1.5 mile 'track' as it is relatively flat and you can do as many loops as you wish with a nice .5 mile downhill to the trailhead.
Notes: Dogs must be leashed at all times. No facilities at the trailhead. This is a recent addition (1992) to the John Muir Historic site and is administered by The National Park Service.