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CHAOS trip, lead by Chris C. and Steve A. Posted as a moderate hike in the specified area. Map(s) of perambulations below.
After meeting and arranging carpools at West Circle, we met up at the park headquarters to pore over maps and determine a route for the hike. General consensus was to head north via non-roads and loop around Maguire Peaks before returning. (Flag Hill Trail towards the Maguire Peaks Loop)
We started by heading west, past the family camps, and crossing Alameda Creek to an unsigned but not difficult trail along the north bank of the stream. It became obvious that this was not the trail (the maps were less than helpful, at least so long as one didn't turn them over and look at the Detail Map), but after discussion, rather than turning back, we decided to follow the (aqueduct) right-of-way to Welch Creek Road, and up that to the Maguire Peaks Trail. Eventually the trees fell away on the right, exposing meadows and grassy hillsides all the way up to Flag Hill, and a cow path was followed into the meadow and we headed cross country up the side of the (very steep) ridge. After a break in the welcome shade on the ridge, we continued towards a series of promontories leading up to Flag Hill and the actual trail. Thence down to Cow Tree Junction and Welch Creek.
Up the Upper Maguire Peaks Trail to the Maguire Peaks Road, where we lunched under a shady oak. After dipping briefly to a dry wash, we starting the hot and sunny climb up the Maguire Peaks Loop Trail. At the east saddle, the group split, some to go cross-country directly up the ridge and over the two peaks, other to take the less strenuous and partly shady loop trail.
The ridge route was steep with some scrambly bits. Panoramic views from the summits, even some shade on the West Peak Rather nice grassy meadow in the saddle between the peaks. Dropping back down to the Loop Trail was a much gentler grade.
??? (description of loop trail)
Both groups arrived at the junction point simultaneously and continued around and down the Loop Trail to the return trail. The Maguire Peaks Road was followed all the way down to Welch Creek, past the remnants of an old homestead. Heading back to the headquarters, we followed Hayfield Road south of Cow Tree Junction. A bit of recuperation at a shady picnic table and we returned to Berkeley and indulged in gelato before disbanding.
The hike was mostly as planned, except for the early (and very steep) diversion. Maguire Peaks route was about 10 miles and 2700 feet of ascent, Maguire Loop route was about 11 miles and 2400 feet of ascent. About 6 hours on the trail.
The weather was hot, but dry. Pleasant breeze on the ridgetops, and cooler in shaded valleys. The trails are in generally good condition, cross country is easy on the frequent grasslands. Some wildflowers, the grasses are starting to fade from green on the sunny areas.
Map of hike location and route detail maps, route in blue, purple, pink and red, and orange
Sunol Regional Wilderness / Robert Parks / email@example.com /
revised May '04