Really enjoyed the counter clockwise route - saw almost more coyotes than people!
I hiked this loop counter-clockwise, opposite of what the track suggests, and that was pretty tough. Climbing up the ridge via Elderberry is much more gradual than taking the paved path. Hiking up Devil's Hole trail was strenuous.
I suggested an edit as Sycamore trail is not suitable for horses or mountain bikes. There are lots of switchbacks and there are some rocky parts. I really liked this trail, even though it was overgrown and narrow. The terrain was challenging and great for people who are more adventurous. There were a couple downed trees near the bottom where it meets up with Devil's Hole trail. You definitely want to wear pants on Sycamore.
I didn't pass anyone as I hiked up Devil's Hole trail and I only passed one other lone hiker on Sycamore. These trails take you off the beaten path of the ridge. The Rocky Ridge Loop Trail gets much more traffic. I like to avoid the crowds, so this hike was perfect!
There is very little shade on this hike. So be prepared for the sun exposure. Luckily for me it was overcast. But I could see it getting hot in the summer.
This trail was challenging on the uphill and the rain has left areas of sloshy, difficult to navigate mud. However, the slog is well worth it if you can make it to the ridge. Beautiful and serene view from the top, pleasant hike back with creek running along the trail. Very nice.
Nice challenging hike with two climbs up the ridge (following the proposed route Rocky Ridge View -> Sycamore -> Devil's Hole -> Elderberry) . Elderberry trail was pretty muddy even though it hasn't rained in over a week. Sycamore trail was pretty wild. It was a steep, downhill, overgrown, narrow path with loose soil. I made the mistake of wearing running shoes and shorts. There were also a few felled trees to maneuver past. Would definitely not go down Sycamore trail without proper hiking boots, poles, and long pants to avoid the shrubbery (and a sense of adventure)!
It's an amazing spot! 5 stars in my book, for a few reasons. 1. The almost immediate dramatic incline gets your blood pumping quickly, if you like that. Within minutes of climbing 1,000ish ft, views of Diablo to your east appear, with tiny pockets (WAY) behind that of snow-capped Sierras. (With an EBMUD pass, you then enter near the fire road to your right- no cows/dogs beyond here) 2. The beauty of shell fossils, these are the coolest! 3. The vast views of SF bay and beyond. 4. You are practically alone any given weekday.
The most recent reviewer must have come the day(s) after the last rainstorm, of course it'd be messy. This trail was completely dried up on this 75 degree day. As far as a million cows, I saw maybe 8, and very little flops.
Liz Z. on Corduroy Hills
SO MUDDY!!! I don't know how I would have completed it with out my trekkers. Enjoyed the cows themselves along the way... the cow pies not so much, they don't allow for a straight path! Lol
Ok, so if you intend to do this trail, be prepared for a long hike/bike. You can't park at the trail entrance or anywhere along Las Trampas Rd. There are signs posted everywhere. I parked down on Danville Blvd and biked 1.8 miles up the hill to the trail head.
The trail itself was very muddy even though there hasn't been any rain for about a week and a half. The climb up to Las Trampas Peak is pretty rough. It's hard to get traction with all the mud. And I encountered a lot of cows on the trail.
After the peak, you stay on the ridge for a few miles and it's a series of ups and downs. That was a lot of fun. The trail lists mountain biking as an option, but technically you're not supposed to take bikes on Las Trampas Ridge Trail past the Bollinger Creek Loop Trail intersection. There is a sign explicitly telling you this. But people do it anyway. This section of the trail is much more narrow and not wide enough for bikers and hikers to share the space, so there is a valid reason for the sign. Just be careful out there ppl.
If you complete the whole track, the last mile will be a steep, rutted, cow pasture. It was rough for mountain biking as the cows had trampled the trail and there were some deep ruts that could be problematic. I would suggest taking caution on the final descent.
The trail ends at Elworthy Staging Area. You are allowed to park here, so I would suggest leaving your car at this staging area and having someone drop you off at the northern trail entrance (or take Uber). I biked back to Las Trampas Rd. via San Ramon Valley Blvd and Iron Horse Trail. I stopped half-way and took a detour to do the Del Amigo to Eugene O'Neil trail. In total, I biked 19 miles.
2/25/17 I cannot for the love of God understand all the 5 star ratings. Probably the worst hike I've ever been on. I took a Rocky Ridge to Sycamore to Elderberry loop. Seriously, the mud on Elderberry was ridiculous and then add in that a million cows made it uneven and full of crap. Most of the loop was a farm road so it was mostly wide, graded and not natural looking. It was also pretty heavily used, parking was inadequate and many of the people felt the need to play music and not bring earphones. And everything is always steep. The views at the top of Rocky Ridge were pretty nice but not nearly redeeming enough to make me ever for a second contemplate doing this again.