Adventures Bay Area Hikes

A Fabulous Hike In the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve


This is a lollipop trail – out, around a loop, and then back on the same trail you started with. If you’re considering it, definitely watch the video. I was blown away by this hike. It’s 1.7 miles, and has a couple of hills you go both up and down – but nothing that was too much for me, and I’m still pretty out of shape.

It’s got steep hillside paths – but not too steep to bring the kids. It has vistas and views of Mount Diablo and of the Livermore valley. There’s a bit that dips down into a little valley, you go over a small creek (dry at this time of year), and through a beautiful Oak and Manzanita woodland. Relatively early on a weekday morning, I only saw a few other people the whole time I was there.

Like many of our east bay parks, it doubles as range land, and I did come across some cows… and one huge long horn bull. We had a chat – again, you can see it in the video. I definitely saw more cows than people. I also saw deer, vultures, and evidence of coyotes.

I liked it so much, I took the family there the following weekend. While there were definitely more people there, the parking lot was not at all full, and the trail was still not crowded. They loved it too.

Interesting bits:

There are some massive old oaks – which are wonderful but not terribly unusual, but there were also the biggest Manzanita trees I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been able to identify Manzanita since I was about 10. I’ve already mentioned it, but the views of Mount Diablo are particularly spectacular.

I was able to capture a couple of different oaks – and I was totally wrong about the difference between Blue Oak and Valley Oak, which lead me down into a plant nerd rabbit hole on identifying oak species in California – look for another blog post about that soon. I also spotted Manzanita, Chamise, and Turkey Mullein – which is in almost no way related to the Mullein that I know as a very tall spike with flowers. In fact, you have to go all the way up the taxonomic tree to flowering plants to find their first common taxonomy. Check out my iNaturalist observations from the hike here.


The park is home to many miles of hiking trails, including some connectors that lead into other parks. Horses and bikes are also allowed on most of them, and there are several horse troughs for watering throughout the park. There are picnic tables at the staging area, along with pit toilets and water fountains. There’s also a backpacking camp (which has to be reserved ahead of time).

Getting there:

Getting to the hike was a bit sketchy. The road is perfectly well paved, but it’s super narrow and windy, and the shoulder isn’t always a good choice to move over. I did pass some cars and a couple big trucks, but one of us had to pull off to the side each time. Find it on google maps here but download it before you go because you won’t have cell service for the whole trip.