Murietta Falls Trail

HARD 84 reviews
#1 of 16 trails in

Murietta Falls Trail is a 11.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Livermore, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.8 miles
4176 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



horseback riding

nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


The Ohlone Wilderness Trail, is only open to hikers and horses with a permit. This scenic hike explores sections of the Del Valle Regional park and the Ohlone Regional Wilderness. The waterfall is worth the effort! Start at Lichen Bark and take the Sailor Camp Trail. This turns into the Ohlone Trail. Remember to sign in! Head towards Stewart's Camp A tough-but-rewarding hike to the San Francisco Bay Area's highest waterfall. It takes strong legs and an even stronger sense of humor to take on the trek to Murietta Falls. If you can laugh off the prospect of hiking six miles one way with over 4,000 feet of ascent for a waterfall without any actual water in it, you have a strong chance of enjoying this hike. Murietta Falls is a remote, rocky slit in the backcountry between Fremont and Livermore on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. At an elevation of just under 3,000 feet, it's the highest waterfall in the region. The East Bay hills are bone dry three-fourths of the year, except in the winter, when Pacific storms turn many dry creeks into wet gushers. One of those creeks pours over Murietta Falls. Even at maximum flow, the waterfall is so-so. The hike, however, is excellent. Two beastly climbs top out on ridges overlooking some of the wildest country in this part of California. In late winter and early spring, the hills turn a shimmering green dotted with an impressive array of wildflowers. Add in the ego boost from conquering one of the Bay Area's toughest hikes and you'll soon forget you came to see a waterfall.

4 days ago

5-22-18 I started around 0830 and was back at my car around 1430.
This hike is very tough. I was the only one on the trail, I did not see anyone else. lots of great scenery. but the falls were dried up but i figured that going into the hike. i would recommend hiking poles to help. I took 3 liters of water and i had it finished by the last mile or so. There is a lake and after my hike it was nice to relax and dip my feet in. Overall I would recommend this hike.

13 days ago

5-12-18. Hiked as part of a longer hike to catch the county highpoint of Alameda. I paid the $6 parking fee, and the $2 wilderness permit and parked at the campground with permission. I feared that the hills would turn brown, but they hadn't yet. It was amazing to see all the variety of flowers. Climbed to the top of rocky ridget, and enjoyed seeing that as a reference point along the Big Burn. Schleper Rock was fun to scramble on. The falls however were all dried up, leaving only a trickle. The hills are challenge, but a fit or determined person would be fine for the hike. The Ohlone Wilderness is special.

28 days ago

it's a brutal hike but totally loved it!! I will definitely recommend !! best workout ever for the lungs, heart and legs and mind those brutal hills won't let you think

1 month ago

Came here for the elevation gain as part of our Mt Whitney training. The falls was a side trip and as expected, it’s nothing grand but just a nice place to take a break and eat lunch. Otherwise, this is an awesome incline hike with endless rolling hills. Trekking poles recommended but not required. The skies were blue and no clouds in sight yet the weather was perfect on this April day and there was enough wind to cool us off for the killer ascents. I brought 4 liter of water but only consumed 1.25. I’ll give it 4 stars for the terrain and 1 star for the falls.

1 month ago

Amazing views of the mountains and canyons.Its’s a very challenging hike with an elevation gain of 4200+ feet.Make sure to start super early .Trekking poles highly recommend.Bring plenty of water and sunblock..Although not a lot of water flowing in the falls it still looks so beautiful.Excellent teaming ground and the view is well worth it.

1 month ago

This is a great hike but not for the faint of heart. There's a good deal of elevation on this. I clocked in at about 12.5 miles. Beautiful in April, green hills and wildflowers are still all over. The falls are nice and make for a great spot to enjoy lunch. Pretty strenuous hike though. The incline and decline are both about as tough. Highly recommended as long as you're comfortable with your hiking abilities.

1 month ago

Beware of the unfriendly Bulls :-(

1 month ago

A beautiful trail with rolling hills, a cool gulch, and plenty of switchbacks! We couldn't make it to the waterfall (turned around about a mile before), as we started late (10:30am), and it got fairly hot at the top of the Big Burn with the exposed trail. We will definitely be returning to visit the waterfall.

Our dog loved it, but make sure you carry plenty of water as it gets hot on the trail. We carried 2 litres for our dog, and she also enjoyed the dip in the gulch. There are also refill points along the trail at the campsites.

1 month ago

I did this hike on Easter Sunday (4/1) 2018 as a practice run for the full Ohlone Wilderness Trail just to see what I was up against. I was happy that the falls were still flowing even though there hadn't been any rain for a week. I had a feeling that if I went too much later in the season that they would be dry. Also, it gets so hot in Livermore in the summer, I wouldn't want to do this hike then.

I just went to the top of the falls and climbed around on the rocks. It was fun. There was a big group there taking a break. I didn't venture down to the bottom of the falls to get the full picture looking back up as I was somewhat pressed for time and wanted to finish in under four hours.

Funny thing, I was plodding along and getting closer to the falls when I thought back to researching the hike and wondered when the "big burn" was going to start. Then I realized I already went through it lol.

FYI, it is $6 to park near the trailhead, which is worth paying considering the alternative starts you considerably further away. I would suggest getting an early start to avoid the hottest part of the day and to beat the crowd. When I was leaving, the entrance was backed up with a line of cars. One thing that I like about the Del Valle entrance to OWT is that the gates open as early as 6 am (7 am in winter), so you don't have to wait until 8 am like at the Sunol entrance.

If you're considering this hike, a good measuring stick would be how easy Mission Peak is for you. This hike is like doing Mission Peak from Stanford Avenue, getting to the top, then being teleported back to the bottom and doing it a second time. So not really for beginners. Enjoy!

2 months ago

Challenging trail, a lot of elevation gain, which means the downhill is also very steep. Be sure you have your trekking poles, these for sure will help when you descend.
A couple of campsites along the way, a lot of birds, and wildlife.
The fall itself is tiny, I guess in summer there will be no water. The trail branched out from the main trail and descend sharply to the bottom of the fall. Do take caution when you climb up and down. Gloves will be helpful.
Good trail for climb training too!

2 months ago

It had rained during the week with perhaps just a little rain on Saturday. I set off midday on Sunday and there was melting snow up top and Murietta Falls were looking great. I would expect the fall to be flowing for at least another couple of days without further rain.
A decent walk, certainly very challenging. If I could I’d give this 4.5* as no “there and back” walk should receive a five when many great loops exist :)

3 months ago

Challenging and beautiful trail! It’s was a chilly day with morning lows in the high 30’s which made for a pleasant hike. Not too crowded and everything was nice and green. Will definitely do it again!

4 months ago

Great hike. Be prepared for the steep climbs though. The falls at the end is a great pay off!

4 months ago

Beautiful, peaceful and challenging. Can’t wait to do it again!

6 months ago

Good intense single day hike

6 months ago

One of the most beautiful trail around the bay. It is hard but the climb is pretty regular and you will easily manage the steepness if you are in good physical shape. The fall was dry as expected. We will go back for sure next spring.

11 months ago

Challenging hike with a lot of steep climbing. It's pretty exposed, so start early and bring a lot of water if it's going to be a hot day. I was carrying a heavy pack for training and I ended up going through 5Ls of water.

There's a big blowdown blocking the entire trail near the trailhead. Bushwack a little to the left to get around the tree - I'm sure a trail will get carved out by folks soon enough.

There's no waterfall right now, just a small bit of water wetting the rocks. Actually, it looks like there's a nice scramble / climbing line up the rock when the waterfall is dry - might bring better shoes to give it a try next time.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Awesome hike, one of the best in the Bay Area, especially this time of the year. Also, one of the hardest. Relentless climb for 5.5 miles is cosiderably tougher than Mt. Diablo's. Yet the track itself is wide, smooth and sturdy and the views are just awesome.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

This was the first day the trail was open so there were still some obstacles. Nothing so bad that families couldn't get past. It's definitely a brutal climb and the downhill return takes a toll. Overall it's a very satisfying accomplishment.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Big Burn does have some really nice views along the way. Was very surprised to find water (Johnny's Pond) along the way, but the falls were bone dry at this time of year.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

It's was a cool hike...took eagles trail nice n easy...down side is hella cow shit but that didn't bother us, plus side I have a dog and everyone up there were really pet friendly. Bring water and bug spray.

Friday, May 20, 2016

What. A. Workout. This trail is definitely not an easy one. Most of the trail to the falls, which is ohlone wilderness trail, was incline. The entire thing was basically a roller coaster. The difficulty caught me and my dog off guard. Carry lots of water!!! As for the falls, I have seen better but it was still well worth the hike :)

Monday, March 07, 2016

Want to make one thing clear the actual Murrieta Falls trail is short and somewhat easy. I would not classify it as easy because you need to descend down a canyon with sharp slippery rocks and coming up is a workout. The oh Ohlone Wilderness Trail is the trail that gets you to this trail. And for sure it's difficult.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

This for sure is not an easy hike. I have it at a 14 mile round trip distance. Two killer ridge line climbs make it not easy. However with that said I absolutely loved it. I was lucky to see it at high water capacity. The waterfall was drop dead gorgeous and well worth the effort. I will go back to my new favorite Bay Area hike for sure.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Great views, fantastic exploration, very easy walking. Trail is flat and wide (which I am not a fan of, but not letting it take away from the experience). If you start from the parking lot, the first 1-2 miles is a great workout of an uphill climb. Do yourselves a favor, and every once in a while look back, and hike off the trail for a bit. Great flowers and rock finds in this area.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I love it!! It was hard but I'd do it again. This is the best time to go. The waterfall was beautiful!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I want to know who rated this as Easy. This is arguably the hardest part of the Olone trail. And I've seen it rated as the hardest trail in the bay area.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Great hike - no water at the moment - history is interesting - found and old car on the side of the trail rusted away - must have been a road at one point. Be careful on rock edge when wet -

Friday, June 06, 2014


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