The East Bay Regional Park District's first new park in six years opened Thursday, May 5 in the Fremont hills.
Vargas Plateau Regional Park, south of Niles Canyon, is a 1,249-acre ridgetop expanse of open grasslands, wooded canyons and amazing splays of wildflowers. It offers stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the cities of southern Alameda County, and provides crucial habitat for the California tiger salamander, California red-legged frog and other threatened or endangered species.
The new park has about 3.1 miles of trails, including a portion of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, as well as three picnic tables and a vault restroom. Because Vargas has only a 25-space parking lot, we strongly encourage visitors to carpool or visit during off-peak times.
The park hours are:
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through May 17
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. from May 18 through Sept. 8
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Sept. 9 through Sept. 30
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. 1 through March 7
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from March 8 to April 5
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from April 6 to May 17
The Park District purchased the property in the mid-1990s from the Vargas and Tavares ranching families, who had grazed cattle and sheep there for almost a century. Prior to California statehood, the land was part of the "Rancho Ex-Mission San Jose" and once was home to Ohlone-speaking tribes.
From I-680 in Fremont, exit at Vargas Road and go north. Drive about 1.6 miles to Morrison Canyon Road and turn right. The staging area is ahead on the left about 0.4 miles. Car-pooling is strongly recommended as staging area parking is limited. There is no street parking in the area.
Photo looking towards Mission Peak: Scott Severn
Photo looking towards the Bay: Kevin Fox.
Photo: Jerry Ting