The Rocky Ridge trail has been on my "to do" list for a while. Certain parts are quite remote, but it offers beautiful views and a stunning grove of twisted and contorted Oaks.
Location: Start at Rancho Laguna Park, in Moraga, California.
Total Mileage: 6.01 miles
Total Ascent/Descent: 2461 feet
There are a lot of cows in this hike. Starting out at Rancho Laguna Park, sign in at the station before the hike. Click on the Permit link to get a permit from East Bay Mud.
You'll hike up to see some peaceful rolling hills, usually dotted with cows. Follow the signs to the trail. At .40 miles you'll come to a split where King's Canyon Loop Trail and Rocky Ridge meet, so keep to your left and hike along the fence. You may see these trail sentries:
At .77 go through gate and get past this group of cows. You'll enter in to a beautiful grove of Oaks. In the winter, this next section has a nice stream through it. This area is particularly lush during the winter and spring.
At 1.14 miles, you'll leave this part of the forest and get on to a ridge trail. There will be some nice climbing in this area. You'll end up going through another cattle gate, and start a descent in to a valley.
At 1.84 miles, you'll see where the trail leads to your left, on to a fire road type trail. As you hike on this trail, you'll come to this sign:
It's confusing here. The sign looks like it's pointing to stay on the fire road, but it's actually indicating a trail off to the right. So stay to your right. Not knowing this, I enjoyed a little detour up this trail to a locked gate, then doubled back to this point.
I continued on this trail for just over 3 miles. At that point, I took out a few slices of pizza and an ice tea and watched the hawks circle lazily above me.
I returned back to Rancho Laguna via the same route.
Don't let the remoteness of this trail scare you away. It offers nice views, some great Oak forests and a wide variety of wildlife.