Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park
Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is nestled between Sunol and Pleasanton in the East Bay hills. It's a surprisingly beautiful park that's only a few minutes from I-680. Hikers, bikers, and equestrians enjoy the trails along the ridge, which provide expansive views of the Pleasanton area. Drop down into Kilkare Canyon in the park's north end, however, and you'll feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. The Thermal Fruit Company once owned the land along the southern ridge, which grew non-irrigated apricot, cherry, prune, and almond orchards. The company operated from 1904 until the early 1930's, producing dried fruits. In that area of the park you can still see the faint marks on some hillsides from the now-gone rows of trees, or of vineyards that also existed at various times.
Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park has more than 25 miles of well-marked hiking trails. With the exception of the Woodland Trail, the Bay Leaf Trail, and a few sections of the North Ridge and Ridgeline trails, the majority of the "official" trails in the park are dirt roads. The park's elevations range from around 400' at the entrance to just over 1600' at the highest point of the ridge. The climbs can be difficult in places, but the steep climbs are generally not very long. Summer weather can be quite hot, so don't forget to wear a hat and sunscreen! Fortunately, drinking water is available throughout the park. This makes Pleasanton Ridge an ideal location for a self-supported 20-mile run or hike.
THINGS TO DO AT PLEASANTON RIDGE REGIONAL PARK
TAKE A HIKE
Hiking amongst so much open, green space makes you feel far from civilization.
There are a number of hikes available in the park (around 28 trails in total, and 59 total including the surrounding parks), but be aware that they are all rated as moderate or difficult.
Begin at the Foothill Road parking area and follow the Oak Tree Trail uphill until you reach the Ridgeline Trail. You have a few options for trails from there, but you can't avoid the first uphill slog.
PEDDLE THE BIKE TRAILS
Mountain bikers should stick to the park's fire roads.
Mountain bikers visit Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park for the challenging steep fire roads and legal single tracks.
There are approximately 58 mountain bike trails of varying difficulty in the park and adjacent parks along Pleasanton Ridge. To ensure the safety of everyone using the park, most of the single tracks, especially the narrower ones, are reserved for hikers and horseback riders.
Oak Tree, Longview Fire Road, Shady Creek, and Golden Eagle are some of the more popular mountain bike trails.
Bring plenty of water, especially during the hotter months, as the trails aren't particularly shaded. If you're easily frightened, keep an eye out for cow pats along the tracks as well.
Those looking for a bit of a challenge can try the Pleasanton Ridge Loop, a 14-mile ride that runs up Oak Tree Trail, along Ridgeline Trail, and continues onto some steeper climbs.
GIVE YOUR HORSE A CHANGE OF SCENERY
To access the trails, ride your horse to the main staging area on Foothill Drive (basically, the parking lot).
The Thermalito Ridgeline Oak Tree Trail and the Pleasanton Ridge Thermalito Loop are the two most popular horseback riding trails.
HAVE A FAMILY PICNIC
There are several picnic tables dotted along the ridgeline, so bring your family for a hike and enjoy lunch with a view while you're at it.
While reservable picnic areas in the East Bay Regional Park District are closed during COVID-19, single picnic tables and benches in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park are not affected.
ENJOY THE WILDFLOWERS
Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park's grasslands and grazing cattle make it an ideal location for viewing wildflowers in the East Bay.
In the late winter and early spring, look for lupine, poppies, redmaids, canyon gooseberry, white butterfly mariposa lily, blue elderberry, and common star lily.
There are many more wildflowers to see in the park; see the Wildflowers of Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park guide for more information.
DOG-FRIENDLY PLEASANTON RIDGE REGIONAL PARK
You can bring your dog for some off-leash roaming here, as you can on many East Bay Regional Park District lands, if it responds well to your voice commands.
Keep it on a leash within 200 feet of the parking lot/staging area, picnic area, and grazing animals.
Keep in mind that you should also hold your dog when horses approach. Please, of course, pick up after your pet and do not leave their waste in bags along the trails.
People with more than three dogs must obtain a permit from the East Bay Regional Park District in order to walk them in the park at the same time.
Allow your dog to dig or cause damage to the park's habitat, and give way to other hikers.
Pleasanton, California is blessed with some of the area's most amazing parks you shouldn't miss. Here's a list of some of our favorites:
- Mission Hills Park
- Bernal Community Park
- Muirwood Community Park
- Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park
- Val Vista Park
- Moller Park
- Creekside Park
- Alviso Adobe Community Park
- Amador Valley Park
All of these wonderful schools are located just a short distance from our amazing location at 4900 Hopyard Road, Suite 100 in Pleasanton! Stop by for a visit anytime!
Previous Article - Muirwood Community Park