Elevation: 1,000 ft to Ridge
Overview: This beautiful 5,271-acre parkland is on the oak-covered ridge overlooking Pleasanton and the Livermore Valley from the west. It is planned as the core of a Ridgelands Regional Park to be acquired over a period of many years. Parkland development has been intentionally limited to preserve the pastoral atmosphere.
Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is an often overlooked getaway from the seemingly never-ending suburbs that fringe the San Francisco Bay Area. Like most East Bay parks, the best time go is in the spring when the hills are green and the wildflowers are blooming, though winter comes in a close second (be ready for mud, however, if it has rained recently.) It's a tad too hot here in the summer, but autumn is fine.
Hike Description: This hike from the Foothills Staging Area is an excellent introduction to the park: long enough to get your heart rate up, but not nearly as arduous as some hikes in the nearby hills. Trails on this track: Oak Tree Trail > Ridgeline Trail > Thermolito Trail > Ridgeline > Oak Tree. Once we hike up to the ridge, we will meander up and down with far-reaching views of the nearby scenery, including Mount Diablo and the San Francisco Bay. Once nice amenity: a smattering of water spigots to refill your water bottle. And a surprise: The hike passes through a grove of olive trees planted when a local rancher owned the land.
Directions: Driving directions: From I-680 in Pleasanton, take the Castlewood Drive exit and go west. Turn left (south) onto Foothill Road, and go about two miles to the Foothills Staging Area.