In the coming months, I’m going to be trying out trail runs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of these trails will be great for both hikers and trail runners. My personal form of trail running is a combination of both (I prefer to hike the hills and run the flats, rollers and downhill sections). However, I’ve become bored with covering the same terrain over and over (I usually run the trails at Lake Chabot and Dublin Hills Regional Parks), so I’m branching out. Join me on my search for new trails to run! Yes, I’ve hiked many of these trails before, but the experience of running them will be quite different. I’m looking forward to the new challenge!
I began my journey on Saturday morning with a run in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. I’ve hiked here so often over the past ten years, that I can’t begin to count how many times, but I’ve never run here before. Knowing the terrain, I knew I’d never be able to run to the top of the ridge, so my plan was to hike to the top of the ridge, and run the loop trail on top. This is a five-mile route, with an elevation gain of more than 1,100 ft (steep at times! 500 feet in the first mile, 400 feet the second, and still more in the third mile).
I enjoy this park for several reasons. First, it’s popular, which means there are usually a number of people hiking, running, and mountain biking on the trails. Normally I’m not into crowds, but when I’m out running alone, I like knowing there are plenty of others nearby. Secondly, once you hike the ridge and get away from the freeway (680), it feels as if you’re far away from everything. The views of Pleasanton and the Livermore Valley are beautiful. You’ll hike among oaks, through olive groves, and over grasslands. It’s very peaceful and lovely. Third? The trail to the top of the ridge is steep, providing a great workout when I’m short on time. You can create a hike as short or as long as you’d like, with trails, both single-track and access roads, interconnecting all over the park. Lastly, for me, Pleasanton Ridge is a short drive from my home in Dublin.
Route: Park in the lot at the Foothill Staging Area, located on Foothill Road between Pleasanton and Sunol, Here’s a great description and map of the hike / run, from EveryTrail.com… www.everytrail.com/guide/ridgeline-trail-hike-at-pleasanton-ridge-park/map . Instead of hike / running the entire 7.4 miles of this route, I cut it short by two miles by taking one of the connector trails from the Ridge Trail to the Thermalito Trail earlier than specified. For another map and description of the route, check out the trail map located on the official East Bay Regional Parks page… http://www.ebparks.org/parks/pleasanton. I hiked the Oak Tree Trail to the Ridgeline Trail until the *18* mark, where I ran the connector trail to the Thermalito Trail, looping back to the Oak Tree Trail, which I took back down to the parking lot.
For more information about Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, visit the website… www.ebparks.org/parks/pleasanton.