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: East Bay Mud South Watershed
- Route: From Rancho Laguna Park, go through the gate on the right side of the parking area, facing away from the lot. Follow the signs to the Rocky Ridge Trail, to your right.
- Mileage: 6.01 miles, 1200' elevation gain
- Difficulty Level: Moderate to strenuous. The entire loop hike is 11.2 miles. Hike as far out as you choose, but realize that you have to return the same distance. Turn around while you still have strength in your legs.
- Description: Notes below
- Trail Map
- Trailhead and Parking:
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.