Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Little Hike to Little Yosemite in Sunol

Alameda County and the Sunol Regional Wilderness
My parents were visiting, so my husband and I "ditched the kids" (my daughter's words not mine) and went on a budget day trip. We drove to the Sunol Regional Wilderness, a beautiful area of unspoiled California in the East Bay, and went on a three mile hike. We hiked to a destination called Little Yosemite, so-called because of its steep canyon, huge boulders, and flowing creek.

What a sight, flowing water in drought stricken California!
We began our hike by checking out the Visitor Center. It was a good thing we did, because the trail we were originally going to take had a washed out pedestrian bridge. The ranger gave us a map and told us of an alternate route. I think it's a good idea to check out trail conditions at a visitor center before going on any hike.

Visitor Center - also known as the Old Green Barn
I was impressed with the visitor center. It was spacious and had an extensive collection of botany cards, put together by volunteers. It also had educational signage, including information about the Ohlone Indians, and various tanks with live tarantulas, salamanders, etc.

Here is the trail we took. We hiked up the McCorkle trail (a little steep) until it met with the Canyon View Trail, went right and down to the Little Yosemite area of Alameda Creek. You have to go down a short steep path that weaves between boulders to get to the creek. Once you're at the creek, there are many huge boulders to climb on if you wish. Of course, don't allow your children to do this after a heavy winter's rain when the creek is really flowing. We returned along Ohlone Road, which was nice and flat. If you have small children who don't want to do hills, you can avoid them by going out and back along the Ohlone Road to visit the Little Yosemite area.

During our hike, we enjoyed unobstructed views of rolling green hills, oak trees, and actually heard bird song uninterrupted by cars or airplanes. What a concept! Winter is a great time to go hiking in Sunol as long as it's not raining. The hills are green, it's not as crowded and it's not hot. This area can get extremely hot in summer; the ranger told us its gotten as high as 108° out in the hills. In spring and early summer the area is supposed to be covered in wildflowers - sounds like we'll have to go back, this time with the kids!

For more information and directions check out this website.

One more thing, Sunol is only about 15 minutes away from Niles Boulevard in Fremont. Since I'd written three blogs about it and loved the area so much, I took my husband there to visit. He had a great time meeting some of the people, eating pizza at Bronco Billy's and jamming with the folk musicians playing at the Mud Puddle that day. It was a perfect ending to a great outing.

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