Bay Area Ridge Trail - Proctor Gate to Don Castro

MODERATE 2 reviews

Bay Area Ridge Trail - Proctor Gate to Don Castro is a 11.8 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Castro Valley, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
11.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2798 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wildlife

no dogs

A long ramble through rolling grasslands arrives at a popular swimming, fishing, and picnicking site. This exposed route begins with a steady, 2-mile, 920-foot ascent on a path through oak woodlands. You arrive at Dinosaur Ridge and its 360-degree views, follow wide service roads along a rolling ridgetop, pass through cattle-grazed lands with little shade, and then descend to Cull Creek. From Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area, hikers can continue on a shadier trail past residential areas.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

If you're looking for a challenging hike that takes you off the beaten path, then look no further. This was the missing link in the east bay portion of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. If you're working on hiking the entire ridge, then check out the adjacent trails - Macdonald Trail to Proctor Gate and Garin to Don Castro via High Ridge Loop Trail.

I started at the Proctor Staging area so as to pick up where I left off from one of the aforementioned trails. But you can do an abridged version of this hike by starting at the Chabot Staging area, which will shorten it by 3 miles. If you've already hiked on Brandon Trail, you're not going to miss anything on Willow View Trail except for a bunch of spider webs from the lack of hikers, so starting at Chabot Staging area can be a good option. And you'll be in the EBMUD watershed for part of this hike, so make sure to have a permit.

This trail will start at Anthony Chabot Regional Park, take you through the Cull Canyon Regional Recreational Area, and then finish at Don Castro Regional Recreational Area. It's great how these regional trails connect everything together. You'll see a lot of activity close to the parks and then nobody in between. I crossed one person walking his dog on Rampage Peak Trail and then I didn't see another soul for about 4 miles until I got close to Cull Canyon. The people I encountered were just as surprised as I was to see another person.

Most of the trail is shaded, which is perfect for those hot summer days when the temps are in the triple digits on the other side of the Dublin grade. The only parts where you are exposed are along the steep Dinosaur Ridge fire trail and on a few sections after you exit Cull Canyon. And it's well marked and easy to follow, which is great because Chabot to Garin doesn't show up at all on the All Trails map layer.

You're going to work your way through open space, deep forest, recreational and residential areas. It was July, so there were a lot of people picnicking and swimming at Cull Canyon and Don Castro. There is a tunnel that you'll go through underneath Columbia Drive that is impassable during the rainy season, so you'll have to go over the road in the winter. There are also a few stream crossings north of Cull Canyon where you'll have to hop over some rocks. All in all, it was a great four hour adventure and my longest hike yet since I moved to the Bay Area.