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
Sunol Visitor Center:
Open Saturday, Sunday, and most holidays, 8:30am to 4:00pm.
Closed all other days including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Dogs: $2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free
Toll Free: 1-888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 3, extension 4559
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 Wilderness Regional Preserve 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.
Sunol Naturalist Programs
Join us for our monthly programs!
To Reach The Park
There is no drinking water in the park.
Sunol Visitor Center
Naturalist staff at the Sunol Visitor Center welcome you to the park. Ask for trail suggestions, learn about recent animal sightings, purchase an Ohlone Wilderness Trail permit, and meet our animal ambassadors – a gopher snake, rattle snake, western toad, western pond turtle, and a tarantula. You can also take a peek at the Sunol Herbarium, samples of over 600 plant specimens found in the park!
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.
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.
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 (Saturdays, Sundays and major Holidays at Kiosk) and Del Valle Park entrance kiosks.
- Online: EBParks.org/Register
- By Phone: call the Reservations Department at 1-888-327-2757, option 2. (Monday-Friday 10am-3pm)
- 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. (Permit(s) will be mailed within 3-5 business days).
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 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.
Notice: Swimming is NOT allowed in Alameda Creek in the Little Yosemite area.
Naturalist-led activities include walks, hikes, birding outings, family activities, nature arts and crafts, virtual programs and various other adventures. Visit the Sunol Visitor Center for information about these programs. View all naturalist-led programs.
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 Trail Mileage for a description of selected hikes.
There are picnic sites available on a first come, first served basis. Alameda Grove picnic area is available for reservation. To make group picnic reservations, call 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2.
High Valley Group Camp is closed until further notice. For information about campsites in other parks, please visit the Camping Page.
|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., & Holidays, $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.