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Round Top, Volcanic and Skyline Trail Loop

EASY 359 reviews

Round Top, Volcanic and Skyline Trail Loop is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Orinda, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. 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.

Distance: 3.5 miles Elevation Gain: 554 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

partially paved

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Park Features: Not many Bay Area residents know that they have a volcano nearby but Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is home to one! This volcano, Round Top, dates to about 10 million years ago and is the source of all the volcanic rock in the park. The unstaffed visitor center provides a thorough geological history of the park through display panels and specimens. Trails Highlights: The trail starts out in a forested understory, then opens into rolling grassland hills, and nally concludes on the shaded Skyline Trail, bringing you back to the staging area. Round Top Trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding hills, valleys, and cities far below. The Volcanic Trail is lined with different types of volcanic rock that help tell the story of the formation of the landscape and how it has changed over time. Pick up a park brochure before you begin your hike to learn more. Trail Directions: Park at the Sibley Staging Area and walk up towards the visitor center. Start on the paved Overlook Trail to the left of the visitor center and continue past the interpretive panels. Go past the trail post to the Backpack Camp, and at the next trail post, make a left and immediately at the next trail post bear left on the Round Top Loop Trail. Follow the directions for Volcanic Trail, staying on the gravel trail and continuing through the gate. In .4 miles, make a left at the fork onto Volcanic Trail. You will immediately pass a lookout bench and trail post #3. At the next fork, make a right on the trail that heads uphill; here there is a trail post marked #5-11. Stay to the left at the next fork and follow the Volcanic Trail until it meets with the paved Quarry Road; turn left onto Quarry Road. Stay on Quarry Road as it descends nearly .6 miles to the gate. Stay left and immediately make another left through another gate to access Skyline Trail. Skyline Trail will take you back to the Sibley Staging Area, climbing somewhat steeply along the creek as you cover .87 miles. Park Hours: 7am to 6pm Nov-Feb; 7am to 10pm Mar-Oct Fees: No fees

hiking
12 days ago

Did this with our 10 and 6 year olds on Veteran’s Day. It was a hotter day than I expected, and was incredibly dry and dusty— a good thing we had plenty of water and snacks. As another reviewer said, it would be better to do this hike when it’s cooler and greener. We’d visited the labyrinth before and the kids appreciated walking it again. There are a number of smaller trails that branch off to the hill peaks— we didn’t try them due to time but perhaps next time. The volcanic rock and informational signage was interesting. There was a lot of tree/fire-prepping remediation in progress as well, with I think wider paths as a partial result. At one point the trail got dramatically more narrow, though, and it was hard to follow on the ground— the map on this app helped us retrace our steps and get back on track. The uphill through the forrest to return to the parking lot was welcome for its shade but we were wiped out and ready for pizza! The hike turned out to be a bit longer and more taxing than expected but next time we’ll do it in the green season.

hiking
off trail
rocky
27 days ago

nice trail loop options and fairly relaxed hiking.

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

The main takeaway is that signage is very poor. The AllTrails instructions are great, but this loop involves several different named trails, and with all the other trails and dirt roads branching off the trail, it's hard to follow. The second impression is that this is more of a desert hike, very exposed. We worried about heat sickness, and we ran out of water even on this relatively easy hike. Would be better in the rainy season, as the hills were completely brown and dusty this time of year. We also had to cross through a bunch of powerline construction equipment in the paved road section of the trail, which was not what we expected. Not our favorite hike, but it was good exercise.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

Ok. Lord of grassland with dirt roads running everywhere. Last fifth was very nice.

hiking
over grown
3 months ago

Nice trail! I did counter-clockwise. It’s full of colorful ground in the first part, due to its volcanic nature. Not so cute in the middle, where the trail continues in a road pavement. The last part is in the woods, with a lightly steep mile. Lot of raspberries/blackberries, plants, rocks and some panoramic views.

hiking
4 months ago

Great, not too hard of a trail. First half has beautiful views of the valley, Mt. Diablo, and central valley. Large open skies and expansive terrain. The ambiance suddenly changes in the Skyline portion of the trail in the valley floor, running parallel to a creek. You're surrounded by trees and can hear the flow of the stream. Great midafternoon trail or something quick to run thru in the morning. Highly recommended.

hiking
4 months ago

Off leash dogs okay if under voice control, just make sure you’re reading the signs for when they must be leashed. Mid part of hike is fairly exposed with some fox tails so keep your fur-baby close. Watch for snakes and ticks. Start and finish of the train had some shade but also had a lot of poison oak along the route. Easy hike, but enough elevation gain to give you a good workout if you’re just getting back into hiking regularly. Beautiful views and decent parking.

hiking
bugs
muddy
no shade
rocky
4 months ago

moderate trail for me as newbie out-of-shape hiker. pretty easy to follow. last quarter of trail is all uphill. a bit buggy, but shady. pretty busy with other hikers and doggies.

hiking
5 months ago

Sides of the trails were LOADED with poison oak. Also, signage for getting to the volcano and labyrinth were poor.

It has nice meadows and views all around. Not much shade. Stroll is pretty easy. Took my parents and had no issues.

hiking
5 months ago

10:00 am spotted a mountain lion approx. 3 - 4 ' long slinking along @ 1000 yards. Looked at us over his shoulder without pause, kept going. fun!

hiking
5 months ago

Nice trail overall. Part of the trail was on asphalt and a part was a bit overgrown.

hiking
5 months ago

Great views. Perfect amount of sun and shade. Great little workout.

hiking
6 months ago

It was beautiful! The way to get there was through an amazing road with the view of bay! Don’t forget to have your phone charged if you are using the map on it! We got lost, although it is a loop!!

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

Mostly sunny. The skyline trail is shady but steep incline

Nice hike with elena

hiking
muddy
no shade
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

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