Halls Valley to Washburn Loop

HARD 4 reviews

Halls Valley to Washburn Loop is a 9.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mount Hamilton, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,961 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


mountain biking




partially paved


wild flowers


This is probably the most technical ride in the park. Starting at the Grant Lake Trailhead, cut right down a ravine and then make a left at the McCreery Lake trail. Then at the junction of the Los Huecos and Hall's Valley trails, follow Hall's Valley. If you're a glutton for punishment, you could take the Los Huecos trail, but Hall's Valley is punishment enough for most. It's two miles up hill and mostly through oak forests and woodlands. At the top, you start to get views of the surrounding hills and mountains and even a glimpse of the San Francisco Bay. The trail Tees into the Canada de Pala trail at the top. Make a left and continue going up. This part of the trail is oak savanna, and you start to get sweeping vistas of the surrounding countryside. You'll come to the Pala Seca Trail; both ends of it. Take the left branch (down for once) and continue until you get to the bottom of the Washburn trail. This area is known as Deer Valley and is rather unique because there is actual running water in places even late in the year. The Washburn trail is more up for the first half a mile or so. Keep an eye out for the golden eagles that roost on a tree overlooking the valley near the top. There's a bench at the top that affords one of the best vistas in the park. Sit down and enjoy the view for a minute or two. You've done the hard physical work, now it's time for the mental gymnastics. The trail down is steep, rough, and serpentine. Take it pretty slow and it is still a hard. The bottom is actually lower than the trailhead, and there's a 300 foot climb before you glide down to the trail's junction with Mt Hamilton Road. A mile on the pavement and you're back where you started. What a ride!

no shade
3 months ago

4 months ago

Just did this hike, with 2 variations. I took Los Huecos trail up insteal of Halls Valley, and added the Pala Seca loop. Overall very beautiful, lots of wild flowers and not too muddy since it hasn't rained seriously for a few weeks now. Lots of cows next to the trail, they didn't do anything, but can be kind of unnerving. Not sure was to do if they would get upset. Really glad I added the extra loop up there, first there are very nice views of the Observatory and further hills in Diablo Range towards the east, and on the second half of the loop, there is some goergous natural wetland, with lots of flowers, saw a frog and lots of tadpoles in the water. Last part of the hike is not as nice, since it's more like a road than trail, and finally the last stretch you have to walk on the road, be careful with traffic. Overall though, the blooming wildflowers more than make up for it.

2 months ago

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