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 > East Bay Regional Park District | Embrace Life! > Parks > Sunol Regional Wilderness

Park Info

Address
1895 Geary Road
Sunol, CA
Download Brochure

Phone Numbers
510-544-3249
Toll Free: 1-888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 3, extension 4559

Local Weather


podcast icon Podcasts

virtual tour icon Virtual Tour

Panorama Panorama

Maps
View Trail Map
Download PDF Map
Google Map
Transit & Trails

Park/Gate Hours

Nov. 1 - March 7
  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
March 8 - April 5
  8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
April 6 - May 17
  8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
May 18 - Sept. 8
  8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sept. 9 – Sept 30.
  8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Oct. 1 - Oct. 31
  8 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Old Green Barn Visitor Center:

Open Saturday, Sunday, and most holidays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed all other days including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Park Events
Click HERE for upcoming events

Parking Fee
$5/seasonal, weekends and holidays. $4 per trailered vehicle. Buses: $25/per bus.

Dog Fee
$2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free

Grazing Information
Grazing in the Parks

Camping Reservations
1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2
Book a campsite online
For more information, visit the Camping page

Picnic Reservations
1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2

Naturalist Programs
510-544-3249

- EBParks.org/Register
(Program Catalog)
- Program Guide(s)
(PDFs)

For Educators
Plan a field trip to this park

Emergency Number
911

EBRPD Headquarters
1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757

Park Update

Trail Update
Be mindful of changing weather conditions and be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and precipitation. Mud is a concern when using the trails after any rain event. The mud on the trails will build up on shoes and boots making hiking more difficult. A good wet weather alternative is the Camp Ohlone Road which has a gravel surface. On colder days snow is a possibility in the higher elevations so be prepared. For any trail related issues or reports please call the Park Office at (510) 544-3247.

Grazing Update
You may encounter cows and calves year round in the park. Calves are generally removed by mid-spring. You should not encounter cattle on Flag Hill Trail and Shady Glen Trail. If you do, please inform park staff. Be mindful of cattle and exercise caution when near them. There are signs on all entrances to grazed areas of the park with information on how to act around cattle and report incidents or problems. For information on the Park District's grazing program click on the Stewardship/Resources link on the left side of this page. For any grazing related issues or reports please call the Park Office at (510) 544-3247.

Sunol Regional Wilderness

Sunol Regional Wilderness

Notice

As of July 22, 2014:
 - Sunol Backpack Camp - No Water
 - Maggie’s Half Acre - No Water 
 - Doe Camp - No Water
 - Stewarts Camp - Water Available
 - Boyd Camp - Water Available
Conditions subject to change weekly.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is improving its facilities at Calaveras Reservoir (August 2011 to November 2017). Please visit our Park Closures and Notices page for details and links to project updates.

The Sunol Backpack Camping Area remains open. Advance reservation (5 business days). See the Backpack Sites page for more information. Ohlone Wilderness remains open.  A Ohlone Wilderness Permit is required for each person age 12 years or older. Alameda Grove picnic area is available for reservation Saturday and Sunday only; Leyden Flats picnic area is closed to reservations until further notice.

About The Park

Bedrock mortars used by Native Americans for pounding acorns that were found in the area are reminders of Sunol's first inhabitants. For the past century, however, the land known today as Sunol Regional Wilderness was used almost exclusively as ranch land. Under the East Bay Regional Park District's multi-use land management policy, cattle continue to graze in the 6,859-acre wilderness. Today, camping, picnicking, hiking, back-packing and equestrian trail rides attract thousands of park visitors a year. Visitors should bring drinking water because there is no drinking water in the park.

The Sunol naturalist staff provides additional opportunities to enjoy the park by leading nature hikes and coordinating special events. They also teach about natural and cultural history to children that meet current State Science and Social Science Curriculum Standards during the school year.

Submit Your Photos to the EBRPD Photo Pool

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Park Features

Old Green Barn Visitor Center

Visit the Old Green Barn Visitor Center for information about Naturalist-led programs and the self guiding Indian Joe Nature Trail. A selection of replicate Indian artifacts, cultural and natural history books, nature study items, wildflower seed packet, trail permits and topographical maps and other items are for sale at the sales counter. The Old Green Barn Visitor Center is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Geology

Exploration will reveal sandstone outcrops with fossils deposited in what was once ancient seabed. Great boulders of greenstone, schist and metachert indicate a turbulent past. The massive basalt outcrop at Indian Joe Cave Rocks provides sport and challenge to rock climbers.

Vegetation

Alameda Creek, Alameda County's largest stream, harbors an inviting creekside community of alder, willow and sycamore. Coast live oaks abound along with valley and blue oak, elderberry, madrone and gray pine. Spring brings wildflowers, including California poppies, mustard, goldfields and lupines, which carpet vast areas in yellow, orange and blue. A wildflower identification kit may be checked out at the Visitor Center.

Animals

Ground squirrels, yellow-billed magpies and red-tailed hawks share this wilderness with raccoons, skunks and black-tailed deer. Mountain lions are uncommon, but are occasionally sighted. Birding is superb along Alameda Creek with acorn woodpecker, black phoebe, titmouse, turkey vulture, and golden eagle commonly sighted. As many as 20 to 40 bird species are often seen in a single morning.

Sunol Backpack Area 

Camping is by advance reservation only (5 business days); phone 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757 press option 2, or visit the Camping page for details. The backpack area is open year round.  An Ohlone Wilderness Permit is required for each person age 12 years or older. 

Ohlone Wilderness Trail

Hikers who cross into the San Francisco Water Department lands that connect Mission Peak Regional Preserve, Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness and Del Valle Regional Park must carry the Ohlone Wilderness Trail map/permit. Each person age 12 years or older is required to have their own permit. Hikers must sign in at trailheads as they enter these lands.

  • You may purchase your permit in one of the following ways:
    In–person Locations:  Sunol and Del Valle Park entrance kiosks, the Coyote Hills Visitor Center in Fremont, at the Park District administration offices at 2950 Peralta Oaks Court in Oakland during business hours.
  • Online: EBParks.org/Register
  • By Phone: call the Reservations Department at 888-327-2757, option 2.
  • By Mail: Send your name, address, phone number and check payable to EBRPD to The Reservations Department, EBRPD, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, P.O. Box 5381, Oakland, CA 94605-0381.

Fee for in-person purchase is $2/person/year; by mail/phone/online $4/person/year for first five permits and $3/person/year for each additional permit after five. 

The permit covers foot and equestrian use of the trail only. Camping at designated campsites along the Ohlone Wilderness Trail is allowed by advance reservation only (5 business days), and separate arrangements should be made by phoning 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2. For general information about the Ohlone Wilderness, phone 1-888-EBPARKS option 3 X4559. Separate arrangements may be made for overnight camping at Del Valle Regional Park (outside the Ohlone Wilderness and at the north end of the Ohlone Trail) by calling 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2.

Little Yosemite

Little Yosemite is a scenic gorge on Alameda Creek about two miles upstream from the Visitor Center. It is open to the public through a lease agreement with the San Francisco Water Department, which owns the property. Please abide by the boundary signs and do not trespass onto Water Department lands that are not part of the lease arrangement. Also, swimming is not allowed in Alameda Creek in the Little Yosemite area.

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Park Activities

Naturalist Programs

Naturalist-led activities include walks, hikes, camping, backpack and horseback programs and various other adventures. Visit the Old Green Barn Visitor Center for information about these programs and the self guiding Indian Joe Nature Trail. To browse naturalist-led programs online, visit http://www.EBParks.org/Register.

Hiking

Please do not short cut trails in steep areas, or slide in the grass on hillsides or banks. Erosion is ugly and expensive to control. See Mileage for a description of selected hikes.

Picnicking

There are picnic sites and barbecue pits available on a first-come, first served basis. Alameda Grove picnic area is available for reservation Saturday and Sunday only; Leyden Flats picnic area is closed to reservations until further notice.To make group picnic reservations, call 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2.

Family Camping

Sunol campground is closed until further notice. For information about campsites in other parks, please visit the Camping Page

Group Camping

Sunol campground is closed until further notice. For information about campsites in other parks, please visit the Camping Page.

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Podcasts / Videos

Podcast 1

Park Introduction, then description of 6-mile, moderate-to-challenging loop hike: Sunol Valley to Camp Ohlone Road (Little Yosemite and the "W" Tree) to Backpack Road to McCorkle Trail (great views) to Sunol Valley.
> Listen to Podcast 1 (MP3, 4.54 minutes, 4.4 MB)

Podcast 2

Indian Joe Creek Nature Trail. This is a one mile interpretive hike from the Green Barn Visitor Center, along Alameda Creek, into the woods, and back along an old wagon trail. Discover the history and nature of the area on this loop hike which is marked by ten different points of interest.
Listen to Podcast 2 (MP3, 14.10 minutes, 12.9 MB)

Videos

Video
KQED / QUEST - Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Tracker (Video)
Video
Bay Nature - The Oaks of Sunol Wilderness (Video)
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Trail Mileage

Trail One-Way Mileage Terrain Notable Features and Views
Flag Hill Trail 1.26 Steep slope; switchbacks. View of the park, Alameda Creek watershed and Calaveras Reservoir. Oak woodland and grassland communities; fossiliferous sandstone ourcrops.
Indian Joe Creek Trail 1.41 Gentle rise in elevation. Wooded canyon. Indian Joe Cave Rocks. One mile loop self guided nature trail - get booklet at Visitor Center.
Canyon View Trail 1.39 Gentle rise in elevation. Gentle rise in elevation. Leads through Jacob's Valley to Little Yosemite. Weathered serpentine and sandstone outcrops. Grassland, oak woodland.
Eagles' View Trail 1.5 Level to steep slope. Chapparal, oak woodland, grassland communities. Leads through "Valley of the Giants." Excellent views of the park, Calaveras Reservoir and south bay area.
Maguire Peaks Loop Trail 3.9 Medium slope. Excellent views of San Antonio Reservoir and Mt. Diablo. Bay Area plants found along this trail are rare in rest of park. Parking permit required on Welch Creek Road (no fee). Inquire at entry kiosk or visitor center.
McCorkle Trail 2.84 from park headquarters. Medium slope. Streamside, oak woodland, grassland communities. Good view of Calaveras Reservoir.

ADA accessibility iconPark Accessibility

There is no drinking water in the park.

Trail Accessibility Reports

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To Reach The Park

  • From the Fremont area:
    Drive north on I-680 and exit at Calaveras Road. Turn right on Calaveras and proceed to Geary Road, which leads directly into the park.
  • From the Oakland/Berkeley area:
    Drive east on I-580 to the junction with I-680 in Pleasanton. At the junction, go south on I-680 and exit at Calaveras Road/Highway 84 just south of the town of Pleasanton. Turn left onto Calaveras Road and proceed to Geary Road, which leads directly into the park.
  • From the Walnut Creek/Danville area:
    Go south on I-680 and exit at Calaveras Road/Highway 84 just south of the town of Pleasanton. Turn left onto Calaveras Road and proceed to Geary Road, which leads directly into the park.

There is no public transit to Sunol Regional Park.

Transit & Trails: Sunol Regional Wilderness (transit, biking, and walking directions)

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Trail Map

Click the map image below to see an enlarged version.

Trail Map

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Directions for navigating the enlarged map:

When the enlarged version of the map opens click on the 'Full Expand' icon in the lower right hand corner of the map to see the 'Actual Size' map.

'Full Expand' icon > Full Expand

When the 'Actual Size' map is viewable, you can 'Click-Hold and Drag' the mouse button (left on a PC) to reposition the map, as desired.

'Single-Click' on the 'Enlarged' or 'Actual Size' map to return to the park page.