San Leandro Hills HP
Peak 1,180ft P500
Peak 1,175ft

Mon, May 16, 2016
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPXs: 1 2 Profile

It had been nearly three weeks since I was last hiking and I needed to get out. My left knee had been bothering me a great deal which led to the time off, but it was doing somewhat better and I thought maybe some short hikes would be ok for it. Though I've hiked all over the Bay Area, there are always some new, minor summits to visit. I would spend much of the week visiting such points, finding new parks and Open Space areas to visit, a few private property ones, too. Today I headed to Upper San Leandro Reservoir in the East Bay hills in Alameda County.

San Leandro Hills HP

The San Leandro Hills are a small subset of the East Bay hills which in turn are a minor part of the Diablo Range. The highpoint of the San Leandro Hills is found just off Redwood Rd which runs along the crest of Anthony Chabot Regional Park. There is an unmarked TH just south of the summit off Redwood Dr, where one finds an old, gated fire road and parking for a few cars. This trail can be followed north to where it connects with the MacDonald Trail after about a mile. The highpoint, however, is found after only five minutes on the trail, just off to the east in the brush. There is a 1950 EBMUD benchmark, but otherwise little to see. I walked around to the north side a short distance to see if there was any place higher, but found nothing much in the understory aside from an old cache of bottles, probably left from a woodland party amongst friends. I ran across a woman with her friendly dog on the trail as I emerged from the brush - she probably wondered what the hell I was doing in there...

Peak 1,180ft / Peak 1,175ft

These two ranked summits are found at the northeast side of the Upper San Leandro Reservoir, just south of the small town of Moraga. Lots of windy driving got me to Rancho Laguna Park. An EBMUD trail system originates from the park, through a gate on its south side. I had purchased a $10 pass (good for a year) online earlier in the morning, having done my homework on this one. What wasn't clear was whether one could legally hike to the summits which aren't along the regular trail system. Short answer is "No, not legally," but otherwise there isn't much concern for getting caught. After passing through several more gates on my way towards the Kings Canyon Loop Trail, I found a sign indicating a trail forking right shy of the first mile. This side trail leads about halfway up the east side of the peak before starting back down at a fork (later I found this is simply the return path of the Kings Canyon Loop Trail). The old ranch road continuing up has a sign simply saying "Closed," but there is no fence or other boundary marker. I went up anyways, soon finding the highpoint at another EBMUD benchmark surrounded by 4 stakes in a small clearing. Some views can be had by wandering out from under the summit trees, but even then not all that great.

Peak 1,175ft lies to the south across King Canyon, now flooded by the reservoir. I returned to a flat clearing between the two peaks along the trail where a cattle yard is found. Currently empty, I walked through the yard and across a fence found at the south side. I found no road or any sort of trail leading higher, but luckily the slopes are mostly grass and were still green to make the cross-country climb easy enough. Once I reached the ridgeline, I picked up a cow trail and eventually a little-used ranch road that headed west towards the highpoint. Not quite reaching it, the road abruptly turns left to descend another ridge, leaving the last quarter mile as a cross-country exercise through more tall grass. Unlike the previous two summits, Peak 1,175ft is open to views in all directions including the town of Moraga to the north. There is another EBMUD benchmark here, too. It took less than 20min to descend back via much the same route and return to Rancho Laguna Park where I'd started. Having covered just over five miles, that seemed about as much as I should foist on my knee, so I called it a day though it was just noon. It didn't do badly, though, and I would do a few more similar outings as the week progressed...


Submit online text corrections or comments about the story.

boyblue comments on 06/02/16:
How's your knee, Bob? By some strange coincidence Peak 1180 was the first hike I did about 30 days or so after acquiring my own knee issues. I was compelled to do a lot of short easy hikes for nearly a year. Still not sure what it was- tendinitis, perhaps?
It's not as bad as it was, but it's still messed up. I'm going to have to see a doctor about it...
More of Bob's Trip Reports

This page last updated: Sat Jun 4 18:45:49 2016
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: snwbord@hotmail.com