Oakland, CA: Maguire Peaks Loop, Sunol Regional Wilderness

Peacefully hike along Maguire Peaks awesome views on this northern loop of Sunol Regional Wilderness in the East Bay Hills.
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Peacefully hike along Maguire Peaks awesome views on this northern loop of Sunol Regional Wilderness in the East Bay Hills.

Enjoy the beauty and solitude of Maguire Peaks Loop, a less populated and more remote area of Sunol Regional Wilderness. With more wildlife, an option of “peak” bagging and fantastic views of the East Bay hills, this hike is a great way to spend a winter or spring day in the Bay. BY MELISSA AVERY, Chasqui Mom

Trip Stats
Distance: 5.5 miles (Loop)
Time: 5 hour 15 minutes – 1 mile per hour (Hiking with Children)
Distance from San Francisco: 55 minutes
More Information: East Bay Regional Park District – Sunol Regional Wilderness

Prep
1. Parking Entrance Fee: $5 per vehicle at the main entrance on Geary Rd, ask for Welch Creek Parking Permit (required, no extra fee) at the kiosk or visitor center.
2. Drive to Welch Creek Rd and park along the road, near the trailhead Maguire Peak Trail (so 12, 6, 5)
3. For Families: This loop can be shortened to 4.7 miles by taking the Lower Maguire Peaks Trail but due to recent storm damage the trail was closed. Maguire Peaks is a moderate climb most suitable for older children or children who hike often. Trailhead has no water or restrooms.

Explore
Mile 0.0: Start at Maguire Peaks Trail head (so 6) on Welch Creek Rd. The trail is a fire road, a steady uphill climb with a couple of switchbacks.

0.4: Continue straight on Maguire Peak Trail at the Upper Maguire Peaks Trail marker (so 7). Keep an eye out for cows and squirrels on the hillsides. Continue on a low grade uphill climb with great Sunol Valley views, then hike down into shady oak forest with a seasonal creek.

1.2: Turn left on Maguire Peaks Loop Trail (so 8). This rolling trail has great views Maguire Peaks, Sunol and the famous Mission Peak across the East Bay hills.

1.8: Continue straight on Maguire Peaks Loop Trail at the T-intersection of Lower Maguire Peaks Trail (closed 2/2015). Maguire Peaks Loop is a low grade climb, with Maguire Peaks to the right and the Sunol Valley to the left. Just before arriving the “bench” the trail becomes relatively steep compared to the rest of the loop.

2.9: Arrive at Maguire Peak “bench”. 360 degree views from the “bench” include Mission Peak, Niles Canyon, Pleasanton Ridge, Mount Diablo and more. After a break at the bench, continue on Maguire Peaks Loop Trail for a gentle downhill shady hike on the “backside” of Maguire Peaks. Keep an eye out for herds of deer in the valley below. NOTE: There is no official trail to Maguire Peaks, but there is a steep peak trail to Maguire Peak (1688 ft), which was not taken on this hike.

4.0: Arrive at Maguire Peaks Loop Trail (so 9) and continue on downhill through another oak forest.

4.3: Continue straight down Maguire Peaks Trail (so 8) and retrace trail for the remaining 1.2 miles back to Maguire Peaks Trailhead (so 6).

Reward
1. Best Time to Visit: Winter and spring bring the beautiful rolling green East Bay hills and wildflowers. Be cautious after winter and spring storms which usually cause extremely muddy trails. Temperatures are much cooler during winter and spring, compared to over 100 degree weather during summer and fall.
2. Fantastic Views: Even though elevation doesn’t even reach 2,000 ft, on a clear day the majority of the East Bay peaks and mountains can be seen.
3. Wildlife: There is lots of evidence of wildlife all throughout Maguire Peaks, from animal holes to acorn woodpecker granary trees. If you are lucky enough to see them, it is known for a herd of Tule Elk to roam around Maguire Peaks.
4. For Families: This is an achievable “Family-Friendly” peak bagging hike which would have more fantastic views than from the “bench”.

Family Hiking Day
Temp: 65 F, Sunny (Winter-February)
Who: Four Adults, one young child and one toddler
Family Gear: One Day Pack, Framed Kid Carrier, two sets of hiking poles
Snacks: Water, Salami, Brie, Bread, Fruit and Banana Chips

Trail Facts

  • State: CA
  • City: Oakland
  • Distance: 0.0
  • Land Type: Other