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Murietta Falls Trail

HARD 220 reviews
#1 of 18 trails in

Murietta Falls Trail is a 11.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Livermore, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, nature trips, and horses and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.8 miles Elevation Gain: 4,176 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

running

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

running
rocky
5 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

Mostly sun exposed and a lot of swarming flies, but beautiful views of the landscape. Fall were dry (September). The sun made this hike especially difficult. There is an outhouse about half way, which is great.

This is an awesome trial for training for Spartan Racing. This is my second time here and it kicks my butt. As an adaptive Spartan this presents some good challenges for my prosthesis. I don't know hurts more the uphill or the downhill.

hiking
1 month ago

collected the wilderness permits a day before. Started the hike early morning from Del Valle, east side. weather was very good in the morning hours. for first few miles, the elevation gain is ok to decent . After Byod's camp, post that you drop down several hundreds feet into the small creek. the real climb start after that. The grade is very steep at some places. COming down is tough on knees and needs good and careful footing. Since it was after the season, the falls were complete dry. Overall 16+ miles of hike with 4000+ feet of gain/loss. highly recommended for those who are training for a long haul!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome sport for Spartan training. My buddy Jeff brought me here to hike. As an adaptive Para Spartan, this puts you to the test.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Awesome sport for Spartan training. My buddy Jeff brought me here to hike. As an adaptive Para Spartan, this puts you to the test.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

All the reviews are pretty accurate. In late August 90 degree heat, the only reason to do this hike is to train for half dome hike in a month. Otherwise, would not recommend it this time if the year. Mostly exposed so you will feel the heat. No poison Ivy this time of the year. The trail is well laid out with plenty of signs. Still useful to have all trails map downloaded as there a couple of places where you could get off-trail. Too many bugs, inspect spray, sun screen, sun glasses and a hat are a must

hiking
2 months ago

Never thought I could do this trail but did it. and feel proud to have completed it.

hiking
2 months ago

One of the best trail to practice for quick elevation gains.. Carry enough water at least 2 liters. There is no waterfall at this time of year at the end of trail.

It’s good practice hike for high elevation gains, we did around 4500ft gain. Recommend carrying 2-3L of water in the summer, there is no clean water source on the trail.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

This trail starts right off with some good uphill grades for the first couple miles on what is more or less a fire road, then you give up about 500 of ft of elevation to reach the Creek, and once you cross that the trail turns into a narrow foot trail and you make another 1400 foot climb to reach the top of the ridge. We had rain on our hike which made it pretty slippery, but was still manageable. Overall a good hike for those who want to get some real elevation gain in their trek, probably just average from a scenic perspective. We used this as a local warm up hike with our full packs for some Sierra hikes coming up (Whitney).

hiking
5 months ago

This trail is brutal!!! Mostly inclined and steep. At this time the “falls” are non-existent so don’t go chasing them. Instead, enjoy the rolling green hills and wildflowers are pretty awesome. Go before summer. This will be a terrible summer hike IMO. Apple watch clocked closer to 14 miles. Wish I’d gone a few weeks earlier. Some parts are narrow with lots of poison oak.

5 months ago

Did this trail on April 14.. early spring..Brilliant hard trail with cumulative elevation change of 3000 feet ..be careful of poison oak poison ivy which are there after you cross the first hill and the creek ( The creek had enough water flowing and on the ascend onto the second hill too Many about 3-4 feet tall wear clothes appropriately so that you do not get poison ivy on you.. Murrieta falls the fall by itself is not that big some water early spring but late in summer maybe a trickle. We started at 8:30 am reached the falls by 12:30 pm ..Left there around 1:15 pm.. Reached back the parking lot by 5:30 pm

hiking
5 months ago

One of the hardest and most rewarding day hikes I've ever done. Left from Del Valle at 8am and returned to the car in the parking lot at 4:15, clocking 13.2 miles per my Apple watch. That included the scramble down to the base of the falls.The wild flowers were still out in force, and there was just enough cloud cover in the AM to make the Big Burn bearable. I stopped for a 10 minute rest break right where the trail crosses the stream at the Gulch, and had a 20 minute lunch break at the falls. Did the return without any serious pauses because the heat was building and I wanted to be into the shadier part (from Del Valle to Boyd, roughly) as fast as possible. General notes: 1) I can't imagine doing this hike much later in the season. I went through over a gallon of water through the day, 2/3 of that on the return, and I had some light cloud cover for nearly the first half. 2) The uphill is tough. The downhill is tough. Shade is generally sparse. But it's AMAZINGLY beautiful so gear down on the climbs, relax and appreciate the flats and shade, and go carefully on the downhill or risk a fall/slide. The payoff is awesome. 3) The hike down to the base of the falls would be extremely treacherous in the wet. I wouldn't chance it if it looks muddy, as it's steep and rocky and would be very, very slippery. 4) there is a TON of poison oak between Del Valle and just before Schlieper Rock, which is only really a problem along the Big Burn because the trail is very narrow and almost overgrown. Other places the path was plenty wide and it's easy to avoid. If you're allergic, wear long pants/shirt because it's nearly unavoidable along that path.

hiking
5 months ago

I appreciate all the reviews that people left on here. They were super helpful in planning for this hike. This is a perfect trail for Spartan Race training! The trail is nearly equivalent in distance and elevation gain to many of the Spartan Beast events. The hills were still green and the waterfall was still flowing.

hiking
5 months ago

The falls are not spectacular. There’s a pretty system of streams at the end. I did it to train for another hike and it was useful for that. Mostlyout in the sun. Parts are overgrown.

hiking
6 months ago

The view was fantastic. There were a lot of pretty wildflowers along the trail. You could see the east bay, the tri valley and Central Valley from the top. But the trail has a lot of steep incline. My knees don’t like it on the descend.

6 months ago

This hike was brutal! The most challenging I've done. I'm also not in the best shape tho. Hurt my knees on the way down so it took a lot longer for me to complete the hike. At 74°F, it felt hot! Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat.

hiking
6 months ago

Definitely stands to its reputation. A very challenging climb with very little flats. Beautiful scenery for sure. Bring lots of water and extra sock might get shoes wet crossing the creek.

hiking
6 months ago

It is one of tough hike in Bay Area. We can use this trail to warm up yourself to hike Half Dome. You may be need plenty of water for whole trail. The view of falls was just okay as there many other trail which offer better views of other waterfall. This trails offer very steep climb for most part.

hiking
6 months ago

Do this hike for the views, skip the waterfall, not much to look at there. Your calves will thank you later by not trying to murder you in your sleep.

hiking
6 months ago

Pretty great hike with amazing views. You’re on pretty much on a continuous ascent while going in, which means coming back is more fun than you think

hiking
6 months ago

Accomplished this hike with a Meetup group (Hike On!). As expected the journey was strenuous with considerable steep climbs. There were several slightly muddy patches on the rare occasion that the trail was flat. But the general trail was in good shape. There were a couple of areas where poison oak was creeping onto the trail (so be careful). The falls had a reasonable flow, which was delightful. The trail is definitely dog friendly (puppy heaven?). Our group had three dogs that I think tripled our distance as they were so excited running back and forth along the trail.

hiking
6 months ago

It was such a beautiful trail and didn’t seem to be to crowded at all. We ran into maybe 10 other people throughout the entire hike. It was difficult. No way around that. Lots of steep ascents and descents with little shade in those agonizing climbs haha. But it is well worth the burn... emotional, physical, and sun burn. Don’t forget sun screen. Very dog friendly and my two aussies had no problem keeping up the entire time and they love water so the creek was a perfect spot to refill water, get shade, eat a snack/lunch and relax for a moment!

hiking
7 months ago

This is such a beautiful hike, especially after all the rain we have had. It was so green and beautiful. The only thing I would say is that the 11.8 miles listed as the length is incorrect. We walked to the top of the last hill at 6.6miles and still had a mile to go to get to the waterfall. My GPS read 13.3 when we ended. It is definitely a strenuous hike and I think if my kids weren’t with me we may have made it to the falls. The creek at the bottom of one of the descents was beautiful, next time I will definitely be getting into one of the pools!

hiking
8 months ago

I hiked this one on a weekday and didn’t encounter any other hikers on the whole hike! Beautiful scenery! The trails are well marked with numbered waypoints that correspond to the map/permit that is issued at the entrance station. Parking is $6.00 and the backcountry permit is $2.00 and good for a whole year. Be sure to sign yourself in at the sign-in station a mile up the trail. This trail is strenuous with lots of ups and downs, however it is easy to navigate.

hiking
8 months ago

5 star -1 for travel distance parking fee -1 for very hard to stay on correct trail. Poorly marked, otherwise 5 star

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Beautiful and dry as a bone. great view over the Livermore area

hiking
Monday, September 17, 2018

Hiked this to train for Yosemite Half Dome. This was an awesome training hike. Your legs get a great workout. You need at least 3 liters of water. It was a sunny but windy and cool day when we hiked and I drank about 3, so on a hot day, would have needed more. Fox tails galore on the narrow paths, so stuck to my socks and shoes.

running
Saturday, July 28, 2018

Started early to avoid the heat (the park opens at 6:00). Great run with tough uphills that turn into technical downhills. Closer to 21km according to my watch. Also some non cooperative cows and dry falls :-)

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