Place Name: Sunol Regional Wilderness
Place Description: State: California
Date: April 9, 2019
Elevation: 1,688 Feet
Prominence: 488 Feet
Elevation Gain: 1,288 Feet
Lists: SF Nifty-Ninety
Solitude Found In The Bay Area
After doing the crowded Mission Peak Trail two weeks before, it was amazing to find this less traveled gem of a hike just a few miles away.
- Green grasses in spring
- Lots of solitude for a Bay Area Hike
- No fees during week
- Fire road trail
- Very little parking
- Small one lane road to trailhead
I was looking for a hike close to home where I could drop off my kids at school, summit a peak, and be back to pick them up. In addition, I was also looking for a P300+ and something on a list would be a bonus. That’s when I stumbled across Maguire Peak, which is on the Nifty-Ninety List.
My buddy Ryan and I shot off for the Sunol Regional Wilderness in the Bay Area. It took us about 30 minutes longer than expected to get there because of traffic. After exiting 680 at Calaveras Blvd, we turned onto Welch Creek Rd. This is a narrow little one-lane paved road with minimal places to pull over. This would be a nightmare on crowded day, but alas, it was a Tuesday and we had the area to ourselves.
There is an old fire road that is gated on the left side that is the actual trail, but they had no parking signs. We found a small area on the shoulder where the connector trail met the road.
Right off the bat there is a small stream to cross, it was running very low right now and easy to get over. The trail then works its way up the side of the hill above where we parked. It’s a small single track and very steep on both sides. It was very muddy and littered with soaking wet cow pies. This stretch runs into the fire road that was gated below. One could actually avoid this stretch by walking Welch Creek Rd to the gate and then going up the grass covered road.
We popped out into a beautiful green valley and could see the rock outcroppings of Maguire Peak for the first time. From here on out, you are mostly walking along a wide road that he been reclaimed by the grasses. The trail meanders gradually around the south side of the peak with some up and down sections but nothing too bad. It keeps working its way around the west side of the peak and starts to head north at this point. Once up here, keep an eye out for a small use trail that heads towards the peak. A seasonal pond lays just ahead along the main trail and the turnoff is before that. The trail follows the spine of the mountain all the way to the summit. It’s a fun climb, not too strenuous, but enough to get some burning in the legs.
We reached the summit in about 1:20. It’s rounded off on the top. No register or benchmark, just some nice views. We could see Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tam, Mission Peak, Mt. Allison, Monument Peak, Sam’s Peak, San Antonio Reservoir, and the bay. It was a beautiful view and we had it all to ourselves on this Tuesday afternoon. It was so cool to have some solitude in the Bay Area. You could see the hustle and bustle off in the distance and to be honest, a very small percentage of the area’s inhabitants have probably been here.
There is an east peak summit that is a bit lower, but it was after 12 and we had to be on the road by 1:30, so we raced down to the car. We were back in the car by 1:30 and I was back to the school with 10 minutes to spare! All in all, this was a great Bay Area hike. There is even a small herd of Tule Elk that live in this area which would have been cool to see.