Maguire Peaks Sunol Regional Wilderness

Maguire Peaks Sunol hike


From the issue Hue Got It

East Bay Emeralds

Spiky peaks, rugged ridges, lush green grassland. Sunol Regional Wilderness overflows with natural wonders this time of year. Most visitors beeline for this east bay park's popular Little Yosemite, but Sunol's less-traveled northwestern corner holds a refreshing surprise of its own. Maguire Peaks is a dramatic open space with rolling emerald hills and a rocky 1,688-foot summit. Enjoy the lay of the land on a 4.5-mile (round-trip) hike that starts with an ascent on the Lower Maguire Peaks Trail. The trail cuts through a steep riverbed for about three-quarters of a mile before emerging into a green meadow framed by coast live oak. Here the trail connects to the Maguire Peaks Loop Trail, a counter-clockwise 3-mile gentle roller encircling its namesake summit. (There is an unmarked singletrack trail to the summit on the northwestern side of the peak.) The wind may or may not be at your back, but the brute and beautiful peaks of the Ohlone Wilderness will always be in front of you. As the trail curves westward, a rocky ridge juts out overlooking the San Antonio Reservoir and, lo and behold, the city of Dublin! OK, it may not be the bonafide Irish capital, but the colorful spirit of the Emerald Isle still rings out in Sunol.

From the I-680, take the exit for CA-84 W/Calaveras Rd. and turn left. If you have an East Bay Regional Parks parking pass, follow Calaveras Rd. and turn left on Welch Creek Rd. A small parking lot (about six cars) is three-quarters of a mile up the road. If you don't have a pass, proceed past Welch Creek to Geary Rd., the main entrance to the park. Buy a $5 day pass and backtrack to the trailhead. For the featured hike, start by ascending the Lower Maguire Peaks Trail and continue until the Maguire Peaks Loop Trail intersection. Take the 3-mile loop trail in either direction before retracing the route on the Lower Maguire Peaks Trail to return to the parking area. Dog-friendly!

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