Carr Ranch

Go on a long hike at Carr Ranch Trail in Contra Consta County

Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County has you covered for both! With 2,000 feet of elevation gain through fields of spring wildflowers, this is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

View of a water reservoir that cattle are surrounding at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

From the Rancho Laguna parking lot, walk to the southeast corner of the park. Scan the QR code on the trailhead billboard to purchase a trail permit, and then head out on the Rancho Laguna Trail.

Hiker standing at a trail sign with green rolling hills and trees in the background at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

Hiker sitting on her backpack taking a break at Carr Ranch Loop in Contra Costa County

Hiker going up at trail at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

Turn left onto Rocky Ridge Trail, a path best explored in the early morning, when the fields are covered in dew. As the sun comes over the hilltops, the white and purple wild radish flower sparkles everywhere. Hikers may not even realize they’re summiting the first hill of the journey: a 1,000-foot vista point. Of note, while the wild radish flower here looks beautiful, it’s actually an invasive plant that’s a real challenge in the Bay Area because it crowds out native plants.

California Poppy on a trailside at Carr Ranch Loop in Contra Costa County

Wildflowers at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

Continue along Rocky Ridge Trail as it descends toward Buckhorn Creek. After a quick break to search for frogs and California newts in the water, turn left onto the Carr Ranch Loop Trail. A steep ascent lies ahead, but some beautiful stretches with bright orange poppies ease the journey. Follow all trail signs for the Carr Ranch Loop until you emerge on the ridgeline to a series of open hilltops with gorgeous views of the surrounding Diablo Range.

Continue along the loop as it passes through cow pasture and fields of sunny buttercups. Patches of clover cover the ground, providing a cushion to weary feet. After a two-mile descent, turn left to complete your loop and return to the Rocky Ridge Trail.

Retrace your steps back to the parking lot.

Rancho Laguna Park is located at 2101 Camino Pablo, Moraga. From Moraga, take Canyon Rd. south, then turn left onto Camino Pablo. Continue for 1.7 miles, then turn left into the park. A $3 trail permit can be purchased at the trailhead. Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Poe Casavant.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

    View
  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

    View
  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.

    View