Brushy Peak Regional Preserve – 6 miles, moderate
At a meek 1,702 feet, Brushy Peak might seem insignificant but it was an important landmark for trade routes amongst the Bay Area Ohlones, Bay Miwoks, and Northern Valley Yokuts. The area has also been used as grazing grounds even to this day; the effects of grazing are easily visible.
The park is currently managed in conjunction with Livermore Area Recreation and Park District. the peak itself lies outside of East Bay Regional Park District Lands. Summit bids can only be achieved with a guide. If you wish to reach the summit, please refer to the LARPD website for more information. Please respect the sensitive habitat and stay only on maintained trails and abide by all rules.
The preserve is fairly small but provides heart-pumping hiking and riding for those willing to take on the heat. One of our most interesting observations of the park was that while incredibly dry, the area provided evidence of wetter times. As you approach the top of Brushy Peak, the landscape quickly changes from grassy slopes to rocky outcroppings; a few bits of shade can be found near the trail to sit and enjoy the views of Livermore Valley.
Morgan Territory Regional Preserve – 7 miles, moderate
Like most East Bay Parks, Morgan Territory is a former ranch, in fact named after Jeremiah Morgan, who started his operation in 1857. Unlike most East Bay Parks, Morgan Territory provides shade. There is a stark contrast between the hot, dry, exposed, grassy hill slopes, and the much cooler, shaded valleys of the creeks that run between them.
Don’t let the shade fool you. Any hike in the area is bound to thoroughly exercise your legs and lungs. The grades on the ranch roads, which serve as a large portion of the park’s trail system, weren’t built with walking in mind.