Ramage Peak

Fri, May 31, 2013
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Ramage Peak is a not-so-very-high peak overlooking Upper San Leandro Reservoir in the East Bay hills of Alameda County west of San Ramon. It lies on private property outside the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness and can be accessed to within a short distance of the summit via the Ramage Peak Trail which runs through the EBMUD property (trail permit required). I had been to Las Trampas on two occasions over the past year for other peaks in the area and had been aware of Ramage Peak but didn't give it much attention. An East Bay hiking enthusiast had contacted me via email concerning peaks in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and in our exchange had mentioned Ramage Peak. I gave it more thought following this and decided to pay it a visit on a Friday morning.

The hike from Las Trampas is not long, less than 3.5 miles one-way, but involves several thousand feet of gain there and back. One must first hike up and over the 2,000-foot Rocky Ridge then drop down almost 1,000ft before climbing to the 1,400-foot summit. To allow traffic to subside on the local freeways, I didn't leave San Jose until 9a, not reaching the TH at Las Trampas until 9:45a. There was nary a breeze at the start and the steep climb to Rocky Ridge was uncomfortably warm. The hills were a golden brown, broken by the occasional flowers in pink, yellow and orange. A 3-foot gopher snake across the trail caught my attention for a few minutes. I put on gloves in order to pick it up for a look, but it got away from me in the grass before I could get ahold of it. As one climbs upwards, Las Trampas Ridge can be seen behind to the east. Higher up, Mt. Diablo comes into view in the distance behind the ridge. Near the top of Rocky Ridge I entered into the EBMUD property, sans permit, and began the illicit portion of the hike along a graded dirt road. Some East Bay cattle were grazing on the Las Trampas side of the fence, not much bothered by my presence. Soon the view to the west opens up, where Ramage Peak can be made out as the highpoint of a lower ridgeline. I eventually found my way to a trail junction announcing the start of the Ramage Peak Trail, though one shouldn't be too surprised that it doesn't actually go to the summit, just towards the peak. I stayed on the wide dirt road to its end at a property boundary (the Ramage Peak Trail splits off earlier, going around the north side of the peak to destinations unknown - it went off the map they provide at the TH). This marks the start of private property, just above and north of Cull Canyon Rd. Below is a complex of buildings comprising an equestrian center, a nudest camp and some private residences. I didn't see anyone out and about, but then I wasn't really looking all that hard.

100yds past the fence the road comes to an end along the crest. A trail drops down to the south to Cull Canyon Rd. There is a quarter mile stretch one must climb from here to the summit, steep but not too brushy. There is poison oak along this stretch, but it is not hard to avoid. Near the top one crosses a barbed-wire fence to reach an old dirt road coming up from the north and west sides of the mountain. Some of this is EBMUD property, but I didn't do any research on accessing the summit from other directions. There are nice views of the Bay Area from the summit, stretching to Mt. Tamalpais and San Francisco on a clear day. I took a few pictures of the surrounding hills during the few minutes I was at the summit, careful to avoid more poison oak found there. I returned via the same route. I spent about an hour and a quarter on the ascent and an hour on the return. Breezes along the ridgelines made it more pleasant for the return. All in all, not a bad way to spend the morning...


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This page last updated: Fri May 31 17:17:44 2013
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