This is one of my favorite running trails, especially if you like 10k's. There are some steep sections, and a wonderful variety of wildlife.
Trails Taken - Starting out at the Valle Vista staging area
Head east, toward the bridge over Moraga Creek. (Left as you face the sign in sheet).
Cross the bridge and continue past the pasture on the left and Reservoir on your right. You'll see some ranch buildings and some portable toilets. Up ahead there is a little bench on your right that looks over the reservoir in a very nice area for birding. If birding is all you want, sit here and enjoy yourself as you watch a huge variety of birds feeding, flying and hunting.
The trail goes to your left a little. You'll reach a cattle gate. To your left is the Rocky Ridge trail, to your right is the King's Canyon trail. Go to your right. Follow this beauty as you hike along the reservoir to your right. The trail is mostly wide, but there are some nice elevation changes. There are some benches along the way, with a real nice one high above the reservoir. Keep going on this trail and follow the reservoir as it narrows to a tributary. Eventually, you'll connect with a path that takes you to the Rancho Laguna park. Instead of going through the gate, take a left and continue on the Rocky Ridge trail. You'll see a narrow road to your right on the other side of the fence. Stay on the narrow Rocky Ridge path, and you'll start some short but serious climbing. This is where I saw a wandering California Newt, so be careful where you step. These are nice little lizards just out looking for some love. Keep on the Rocky Ridge trail, and follow it back down toward the reservoir. Take a right back on to the King's Canyon Loop trail, past the same buildings you saw on your way in. Continue back to the Valle Vista trailhead.
Mileage - 6.1 miles
Trailhead - Valle Vista staging area, toilets, no water
Notes and Impressions - This is a hike that builds appetites. With numerous climbs and descents, you'll be hungry and thirsty at the end of this adventure, even if you've enjoyed snacks and water on the trail.
The Upper San Leandro reservoir is home to a huge variety of birds, so bring your binoculars. There are also numerous canopies on the trail, with some huge oaks and bay trees.