Just when you think you’ve hiked all the trails in the East Bay, another network of trails awaits you: watershed hiking. Buying a permit that gives you access to these trails is your path to enjoying more diverse and beautiful landscape. Because permits are required to hike these trails, they are often undisturbed and less crowded.
Watershed Hiking in Las Trampas
Just on the other side of Las Trampas, it is possible to hike from Rocky Ridge Trail down into either Redwood Regional Park or Anthony Chabot Regional Park. As these trails require a permit, there will be minimal activity along the trail. Be sure to take along adequate water, food, a map and a friend to enjoy the amazing views.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District offers 80 miles of watershed hiking for residents. Their north section near Orinda will take you along the San Pablo and Briones Reservoir, Siesta Valley and Pinole Valley. There are five staging areas for you to park and start your hike. The south section lies mainly in Castro Valley and Moraga; however, you can access a portion directly from Las Trampas. The south section of trails are longer and there are a total of three official staging areas to begin your hike.
Permits range from $3.00 per day up to $30.00 for five years. You may take up to three guests and your immediate family.
Several of the trails are dog friendly and you may come across horseback riders on your hikes, as well. Unfortunately, bikes are not permitted any unpaved sections of the trails. As this section of trails lie in our watershed, please follow their use rules to help protect the quality of our water.
Watershed Hiking Beyond San Ramon
The Los Vaqueros Watershed is also open for hiking and even has multi-use trails. Located near Brentwood off of Marsh Creek Road, Los Vaqueros offers recreational activities such as fishing and boating in addition to hiking and picnic spots. Hiking at Los Vaqueros does not require a special permit.
The Peninsula Watershed in San Mateo County allows for hiking, biking, walking and running along a recreation easement off of Highway 280. Many parts of the trail encompass the Bay Area Ridge trail according to their maps.
This article originally appeared on Villa Properties’ blog at http://info.myvillaproperties.com/blog/watershed-hiking.