Hike to Stone Bridge

This is a nice hike, but the Eucalyptus Trees (Eucs) own this place.  Expect to hear gunshots from the rifle range, and squeaks and moans from the Eucs as they welcome your presence.

See the Photo Map here

Location:Anthony Chabot Regional Park, 9999 Redwood Road, Castro Valley, CA 94546

Yahoo Map

Trail Map

Trails Taken - Starting out at the Marciel Gate, at 9999 Redwood Road, I took the Redtail Trail.  Next, I took a right on the Deer Canyon Trail.  I continued to the left on to Brandon Trail.  (You can take Brandon Trail to the right for a more direct route to Stone Bridge).  Next, I took a right on the Escondido Trail.  That zigzaged along until I reconnected with the Brandon Trail.  I kept to my left and followed the Brandon Trail to Stone Bridge.  I ate some Trader Joe's Scotty Dogs at the bridge and turned around.  I took the same trail back to where it split, and followed Cottontail Trail on my left back to the gate and parking lot.  

Mileage- 4.53 miles, Total Ascent/Descent: 2953 feet

Trailhead - Moon Gate staging area, off Skyline Blvd. in Oakland.

Notes and Impressions -

It's an auditory experience hiking through this Eucalyptus Forest.  You hear the snaps and cracks of branches falling, the moans of trees rubbing together, and the not so distant pop of gunshot at the rifle range.  

Starting out on Red Tail Trail, I hear gunshots from the rifle range.

So far, fairly wide path. 

.11 some Eucs on right, heavy brush, Oak, Pine, on left, a lot of shrubs, Spring is definitely popping here. New growth on a lot of the plants, loud, enthusiastic birds, scattered gun shots from the range.

.22 Walking on path along, but not right on the road.  

.30 Path has little stream in middle, birds flying across, but no canopy, brush on both sides, poison oak,  and I am walking along Mericel Road, which leads in to the rifle range and the campsites. 

.35 Cross the Mericel Road to continue on to Red Tail Trail.

.40 Take a Right on Deer Canyon Trail.

.41 Forest of Eucs on Right, they are making a lot of noise as they rub against each other from the wind, lots of squeaks and haunting moans.

.44 Deer Trail is starting to descend, trail is really wet, and I'm in a Euc Forest.  

.48 I can see San Francisco Bay from the top of this hill.

.54 Giant Euc has come down partially on the trail, but easily passable.  This is all Euc here, they're giant, big old trees, some over 100' tall and very wide around the base.

.60 Taking left on to Brandon Trail from Deer Canyon Trail.

On Brandon Trail, I see some Oaks, but not too many.  The Eucs are like an invading army here. 

.66 There are some Oaks, Bay Trees, but mostly Eucs.

.73 On Brandon Trail, on hillside with wide fire lane road. Down to my right is a valley full of mostly Eucs, but some Oaks.

.86 This is a dense Euc Forest, I've never seem them this jam packed together, and they seem to be different types as well.  They go straight up, so there is not a lot of canopy over the trail. 

1.0 The rifle range is getting louder, storm is looking like it's going to hit me, so I have to pick up the pace. Just over 1 mile in, about 1.02, there is a little bench which has great vistas and overlooks the valley and the bay.  

1.04 Taking a right on the Escondido Trail

Coming down the Escondido Trail, seeing more Eucs and hearing rifle range a bit more

I don't know what it is about Euc Forests, but they seem to be a bit haunted almost, maybe it's because they leave a lot of debris hanging off their branches, waving like ghosts, and the trees rub and grind against one another, making noises all along the trail.  I think the Eucs are talking about me...  

1.26 on Escondido, the trail is narrow, but the cleared space around it is wide enough for a car almost, full of grasses. Eucs and shrubs on the left of me, Euc Forest on the right.  Birds fluttering around, I see some Towhees, Chickadees, and some Jays. 

1.59 Just stumbled upon a flock of Wild Turkeys, but they moved away too fast for me to catch them with my camera.  There are some boulders on the right of the trail, just past a dense Euc grove.  

1.88 On Escondido, starting to see a few more Oak trees, but still quite a few Eucs.  I just saw the Turkeys again.

Taking the descent on Escondido, as you wind around through these giant Eucs, I'm heading down to the valley floor, and I see some Bay trees, and a Redwood trying to break through the Eucs.  Also, plenty of poison oak wrapping itself around the Eucs like protective sisters.  

2.07 Now I'm in the Oaks, and there is a big boulder up a hill next to me.  But, it looks like I'm about halfway down in to this valley on the Escondido Trail.  Now I'm starting to go up just a bit. 

Rifles at range are going off quite loudly in the distance.  

2.22 Nice little valley to the left, where you'll see a nice Oak grove.   

2.23, There is a little canopy.

2.45 I'm at intersection of Brandon Trail and Escondido Trail, and I'm going to take a left on the Brandon Trail, so I can take some pictures of the Stone Bridge 

2.65 Some beautiful Oaks on my left here as I descend down this trail, really pretty Oaks, and a Madrone too. Oaks seemed to have held this spot from the Eucs. 

2.94 Heading down Brandon  .4/mile  to see the Stone Bridge.  

As I head to Stone Bridge, I'm seeing a few more Redwoods to my left, but still mostly Eucs. 

3.22 More moaning Eucs.

3.35 On Stone Bridge, heavy, flowing stream below. 

3.37 Heading back via Brandon to Cottontail Trail.

3.77 On Cottontail Trail heading to Maricel Gate.

3.83 Cottontail has my heart beating a bit, nice incline here.

This Cottontail Trail is a big slab of rock.  I'm seeing RollyPollys wander across the trail,  and Cottontails scattered on hill. 

4.04 The Cottontail Trail is a powerful uphill.  I'm taking a break to take some pics.

4.35 At top of Cottontail Trail, on my way to my car, still hearing guns at the range. 

4.45 At end of hike, in parking lot at Maricel Gate.  Picnic table here, but I don't see water or toilets.  

4.35 At top of Cottontail Trail, on my way to my car, still hearing guns at the range.

4.45 At end of hike, in parking lot at Maricel Gate.  

Image Gallery