The Ohlone Wilderness is located in the East Bay, roughly between Fremont
and Livermore. It connects Del Valle Park and Sunol Park, and extends beyond
both. The most popular attractions are the Murietta Falls and Rose Peak.
It is a rather barren place in the summer, when most of the vegetation is
dead (except the ubiquitous poison oak), and it is a rather muddy place in
the winter. But it is an excellent place to see wildflowers in the spring.
Del Valle Park to Sunol Park via Rose Peak and Murietta FallsThis hike is best done in the spring, to view the wildflowers. There is a view from Rose Peak of the nearby hills (called "mountains" out here, e.g. Mt Diablo). Murietta Falls are vastly overrated (unless you have never seen waterfalls in your life). Again, the main attraction for me were the spring colors.
The Ohlone trail between Sunol and DelValle Park is 29 kms long and passes by Rose Peak (1163 meters), the highest peak in the wilderness. Park one car at Sunol Park, at the end of the paved road. There is a large parking lot. The McCorkle trailhead is not easy to find: it is a fire road located immediately after the bridge, about 100 meters from the parking lot. Walk from the parking lot over the bridge and turn immediately left towards the gate. Once located your end point, drive to Del Valle Park (about 45 minutes), turn right after the bridge and park at the end of the road (trailhead for the Ohlone trail), or turn left after the bridge and park at the end of the unpaved road and walk back 300 meters to the Vallecito trailhead (a shortcut to the Ohlone trail). The trail has markers with numbers. You are basically hiking between number 39 and number 15. Despite the many markers along the route (most of them unnumbered), several hikers lose the trail because of the confusion at the various gates. The trail is particularly tricky between markers 19 and 22. Pay attention to the signs.
There are two steep hills at the beginning, that take a toll on knees and time. Then the trail is over rolling hills until Rose Peak with several other steep sections. After that the trail mostly descends. There is one last hill towards the end, but it doesn't compare with the first two. When you reach marker 15, turn left on McCorkle trail (you will be already seeing the parking lot). Note: depending on the season and on the budget, the Sunol rangers may physically close the gates at dusk. If you left a car in Sunol, make sure you can get back to it by dusk. Another (faster) way to get to the same parking lot is to descend from McCorkle trail to the Camp Ohlone Rd, which is a wide flat road. The McCorkle trail is way prettier but it zigzags and goes up and down, so it takes longer.
These were the 2004 intermediate times:
April 2005 time from Sunol to DelValle (reverse route):
Mission Peak to SunolThe trail begins in Fremont and ends in Sunol. It is 4kms from Fremont to Mission Peak and about 6.5kms to the border of Sunol Park and about 1 km to the Sunol Park parking lot. Most of it actually lies inside the Ohlone Wilderness and you need a permit to hike that part. (In january 2001 it took us four hours from the Stanford Ave parking lot in Fremont to the Sunol Park parking lot).
Directions to the Mission Peak trailhead: from Interstate 680 or 880 exit Mission Blvd East, drive east (which is actually north) for a few blocks, then turn right into Stanford Ave and continue to the dead-end.
From the Stanford Avenue trailhead, hike to Mission Peak. This is a very popular hike and you are likely to be surrounded by hundreds of people. The "trail" is really a wide dirt road. There are only two major forks. The first one comes after post 26 and a gate: go right. The second one comes a few minutes later (the post is simply marked with a 5): go right if you want to check out Mission Peak (the view is not really worth it but for the sake of completeness...), go left to continue to Sunol.
From that point simply continue west through the Ohlone Wilderness to Sunol Park.
After parking in Sunol Park, look for the Ohlone Wilderness trail: that is the trail that connects with the one coming from Mission Peak.
Pictures of these trails
East Bay parks
Del Valle Park
Directions to Sunol Park: take the Calaveras Rd exit off I-680, go east on Calaveras Rd, turn sort of left into Geary Road, pay at the ranger station (get a map!), then park.
Directions to DelValle: From 580 at Livermore, take the North Livermore Avenue exit. Turn south and travel on North/South Livermore Road to Tesla Road to Mines Road. Turn right into Mines Rd and drive about 5 kms south to Del Valle Road. Turn right and continue for 5 kms to the entrance to Del Valle Regional Park.
A short loop in Sunol ParkFrom the visitor center cross the bridge and take the Indian Joe trail to the Canyon View trail to Little Yosemite. Then take the El Cerro Este trail to the viewpoint, then the Eagle View trail or road, then return via Indian Joe trail.