Rancho Laguna Park
This hike starts at the parking lot of Rancho Laguna Park. There is a restroom and water. Rancho Laguna Park belongs to the City of Moraga and is used by dog owners in the early morning and late afternoon as an off-leash dog park. The rest of the day it serves as a picnic area area and children’s playground.
From the parking lot, you will turn right onto Camino Pablo and then cross Sanders Ranch Road and turn right to walk down the sidewalk. Yes, you are entering a gated community. The trail begins about .4 miles on the left. Watch for the sign.
Respect the residents; keep quiet and stay on the trail.
Old Morage Ranch Trail – 7 miles, moderate (several short climbs)
The Moraga family played an important part in California history. Joseph Joaquin Moraga was second in command to Juan Bautista de Anza during the 1776 Expedition. His grandson, Joaquin Moraga, in conjunction with his cousin, Juan Bernal, received land in 1835 through a Mexican land grant; Rancho Laguna De Los Palos Colorados. The pueblo he built on the land in 1841 still stands but has been privately held since it was built.
Through the years, much of the land from the original grant has been sold, bought, and developed. However, the City of Moraga takes pride in its history and preserved it. For more information, visit their official history page.
This is a great hike to complete in the fall; the trees in the valley where in the midst of seasonal changes and provided an infusion of color to the otherwise brown hillsides.
Also spectacular: the morning fog. We headed out at 8:30 am and the fog was weaving in and out of the valleys. However, on the way back, the fog had faded and the view was changed.
We have read many guides that claimed the trail was overgrown and hard to follow but we did not experience this. The trail was well marked and wide. Just mind the trail at all times since much of the land is privately owned and not opened to public use. Also, cows graze in the area; make your presence known when approaching. We rarely encounter aggressive cows but eventually, we were blocked by a group that felt the need to protect their young. Perfect time to turn around and head back the way we came.