Sunol Regional Wilderness

Notice

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is improving its facilities at Calaveras Reservoir (through June 2019). 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.

Park Info

Address
1895 Geary Road
Sunol, CA


Fees:
Parking: $5/seasonal, weekends and holidays. $4 per trailered vehicle. Buses: $25/per bus.
Dogs: $2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free

Gate Hours
Nov 1 - Mar 7
   8am - 5pm
Mar 8 - Apr 5
   8am - 7pm
Apr 6 - May 17
   8am - 8pm
May 18 - Sep 8
   8am - 9pm
Sep. 9 – Sep 30.
   8am - 8pm
Oct 1 - Oct 31
   8am - 7pm

Park Entrances
> Sunol Main Entrance
> Sunol Visitor Center

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

Sunol Visitor Center
Open Saturday, Sunday, and most holidays, 9am to 6:30pm Closed all other days including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Maps
> Trail Map
> Map PDF
> Google Map
> Transit & Trails

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 and back-packing  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.

Wildflower Photo Guide

  • Sunol - 4.2 Mb, 11 x 8.5, 28 pp. [PDF]

Park Calendar

Park Features

Sunol Visitor Center

Visit the Sunol 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 Sunol 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 1-888-327-2757, 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.

Park Activities

Naturalist Programs

Naturalist-led activities include walks, hikes, camping, backpack and horseback programs and various other adventures. Visit the Sunol Visitor Center for information about these programs and the self guiding Indian Joe Nature Trail. To browse naturalist-led programs online visit, EBParksOnline.org.

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.

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 outcrops.
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. Chaparral, 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 (Sat & Sun $5.00 fee; Mon-Fri, 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

To Reach The Park

    From Fremont, drive north on I-680 and exit at Calaveras Road (near the town of Sunol.) Turn right at the exit onto Calaveras Road and proceed about four miles to a left turn onto Geary Road, which leads directly into the park. (If you find yourself driving uphill on a narrow winding road you’ve missed the Geary Road turnoff.) To reach the Old Green Barn take the first left after the park entrance.

    From the Oakland-Berkeley area, drive east on I-580 to the junction with I-680. Take I-680 south and exit at Calaveras Road/Highway 84 just south of the Sunol exit. At the bottom of the exit turn left onto Calaveras Road and proceed as noted above.

    From the Walnut Creek - Danville area, drive south on I-680 and exit at Calaveras Road/Highway 84 just south of the Sunol exit. Proceed as noted above.

There is no public transit  to Sunol Regional Park.

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

Trail Map

Click the map image below to see an enlarged version.

Anthony Chabot Trail Map

Maps are available at most of the bulletin boards at trailheads in the park, or you can print your own.

Events:

Monday, August 20, 2018 (Today)

10:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
Outdoor Discoveries: Breaking Down Decomposition

Saturday, August 25, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, August 26, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Saturday, September 1, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, September 2, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Saturday, September 8, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

6:00 PM  -  9:00 PM
Sunol at Sunset

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, September 9, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Monday, September 10, 2018

10:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
Outdoor Discoveries: Cool California

Saturday, September 15, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, September 16, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Saturday, September 22, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, September 23, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

2:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Meet a Tarantula

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Monday, September 24, 2018

10:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
Outdoor Discoveries: Tarantulas!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, September 30, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

6:00 PM  -  8:00 PM
Tarantula Trek

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Saturday, October 6, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, October 7, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Monday, October 8, 2018

10:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
Outdoor Discoveries: Indigenous Peoples

Saturday, October 13, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

5:00 PM  -  7:00 PM
Arachnophilia!

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, October 14, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Saturday, October 20, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, October 21, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

1:00 PM  -  3:30 PM
History Hike

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Monday, October 22, 2018

10:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
Outdoor Discoveries: Creepy Crawlie Critters

Saturday, October 27, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

Sunday, October 28, 2018

11:00 AM  -  12:00 PM
Wild Wonders

6:00 PM  -  8:00 PM
All Hallows Hike

12:00 PM  -  3:00 PM
Critter Crafts

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