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Whispering Creek Trail, Chabot-Garin Trail, Shady Canyon Trail, Ridgetop Trail Loop

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Don Castro Regional Recreation Area

Whispering Creek Trail, Chabot-Garin Trail, Shady Canyon Trail, Ridgetop Trail Loop is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hayward, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. 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.

Length 4.9 mi Elevation gain 807 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Partially paved

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

No shade

Description
Waypoints (2)
Getting There

Note: At times, there are cattle gates on this trail that can be closed. Proceed with caution. This trail takes you through two park areas, each very different from the other. The route offers varied terrain, including a walk along an old reservoir as well as a climb up a ridge that provides stunning views of the Bay Area. The hike back to Don Castro winds along a shaded creek, a welcome respite from the sunny ridge. Trail Directions: From the Don Castro main parking lot, head towards the entrance and the entry kiosk. Continue past the kiosk, following the sidewalk across the bridge until you come to the Whispering Creek Trail on your left. Follow Whispering Creek Trail along the lake for .41 mile. At the fork, keep left and continue for .24 mile following the shoreline. At the next signpost, keep right and follow signs for Chabot-to-Garin Regional Trail. At the bridge, keep straight; do not cross. Continue until you come to a paved road; turn left, following the Chabot-Garin Regional Trail. At the Private Property sign, make a right to continue on Chabot-Garin Regional Trail. This path will take you to Five Canyons Parkway. Make a right and cross safely at the first crosswalk. Turn right, then walk about 50 feet. Enter Five Canyons on your left, following signs for Chabot-Garin Regional Trail. After .51 mile, cross through the cattle gate and make a left onto the paved fire road. Keep to the shoulder and climb for .31 mile. At the top, the paved road becomes gravel. Cross through the cattle gate and continue for .54 mile, then make a right onto Shady Canyon Trail. At the next intersection, turn right to stay on Shady Canyon Trail. At the sign for Deer Canyon Trail, make a right again to stay on Shady Canyon Trail. Head straight, crossing Canyon Terrace Drive safely. Continue for about 400 feet, then cross Boulder Canyon Drive and follow the paved trail through Ridge Trail Park. After exiting the park, make a sharp left to continue to follow Shady Canyon Trail. Once you reach the sidewalk, turn left. Continue until you reach the “fire trail” gate, then head left down Chabot-Garin Regional Trail. Turn left at the private property sign. After about 200 feet, make a right, following signs for Chabot-Garin Regional Trail. Cross the bridge to your right, then head left to follow Ridgetop Trail. At the next fork, keep right to continue on Ridgetop. Come to a gate, cross through it, then head left to return to the parking lot.

From I-580 East from San Leandro, take the Grove Way exit in Castro Valley; right at the exit onto Grove Way; left on Center Street; left on Kelly; and left on Woodroe to the park entrance. From I-580 West take the Castro Valley exit and continue west on E. Castro Valley Blvd. to Grove Way; left on Grove; left on Center; left on Kelly; and left on Woodroe to the park entrance.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (101)
Photos (392)
Recordings (96)
Completed (141)
Shikhar Bajaj
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Hiking

Good combination of hill and shade. Cattle gate on newt pond trial isi locked at around 3.2 mile point so you will need to climb over.

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Jenny Hughes
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 9, 2020
HikingBugsOff trailPrivate property

This trail was made when somebody decided to start walking and every time they came upon a crossroads, flipped a coin. This trail makes no sense. Why even start in this park? Peoples’ backyards, main roads, middle of nowhere, paved roads dirt paths. Horse poop, dog poop, hordes of flies by the creek. You can’t stop looking at the app because every few feet there’s another chance to get lost. At the highest point in the trail you got a great view of 238 and oh, the pollution was too thick so you couldn’t see the bay. I just wanted to get back to my car as quickly as possible.

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Amy Lin
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Hiking

Bad trail...cross roads several times. Exposed over half time. Many gates closed. Confusing trail

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Rita Watkins
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Hiking

This kicked my butt. There are some killer hills for the first 2 miles. Once you get to the top the view is beautiful. It’s an interesting trail as you start at a park, then zig zag through neighborhoods of Five Canyons and then your walking back in luscious greenery again. Watch out for poison oak. Wear good shoes with good traction as there are areas with pretty loose dirt and you’ll need traction. I highly suggest bringing a good amount of water for this hike.

Andrea Varallo
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HikingClosed

Actual trail is closed off you can only do the small loop trail.

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kristine s
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 23, 2020
Hiking

pretty sure parts of this trail are inaccessible currently due to the COVID 19 closures. i was able to do the majority of the trail though. ignored 1 sign mid-hike that said “trail closed” and it was fine. parts of the trail go along roads and neighborhoods. i had to check the app many times to be sure where to go. it was enjoyable and not too strenuous

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Chunjiao Xiao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 18, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail, and good for practice marathon, lots of trail options if you have time to explore around

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Bob Davis
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Hiking

Swiss good hike there's no sign so you have to be careful when you go could not figure out one part on the Ridge Trail overall views

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Amy Giles
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Hiking

A little muddy the first 3/4 mile but everything else about it was awesome! Definitely worth getting my foot wet at the get go! Lots of variety (trees, etc) close to the water, green grass and spring flowers in the fields and peak. The top is a gorgeous view for lunch!!! Made one minor turn in error but AllTrails alert let me know and it was no problem. Did a little side adventuring too. Great for dogs!

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Cassie Castrejon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 26, 2020
Hiking

Wow, Hayward I was so pleasantly surprised again! This trail had a beautiful mix of terrain. I went counter close wise, which I’m so glad I did! Coming down the more slipper, slightly muddy way was much easier for me than it would have been to go up. All the animal life was talking, frogs, crickets, owls, hummingbirds. Just so lovely! It was also a nice challenging climb to an amazing sunset.

Craig King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 15, 2020
Hiking

I wish I was able to complete this trail. We weren't able to get through to Garin because of some hostile cows. We were exactly halfway to our destination when we stumbled upon a mother cow and her newly born calf. How could we tell it was newly born? The umbilical cord was still hanging out of the mother whom was very protective of her offspring in the middle of the path. As we made a cautious approach, she charged and chased us down and summoned back-up in the form of 3 additional cows and one of which that came down from the top of hill. We had no choice but to turn back to Chabot. I rolled my ankle due to uneven terrain as I was running for dear life. Getting back to the car was tremendously painful and shameful; however, I do plan to complete this trail one day.

Erica Hruby
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 15, 2019
Hiking

Very bad/confusing directions. The map (and presumably the distance) has the route taking a shortcut using Newt Pond trail but the text directions don’t. We got turned around where Newt, Shady Canyon and Chabot-to-Garmin converged. All in all our “4.9” mile hike turned into 8 miles.

Brandon Bockman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 29, 2019
Hiking

Cattle gate locked just under 3 miles in. Had to cut through Five Canyons neighborhood to continue loop

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Gwendolyn Tornatore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 29, 2019
Hiking

I have mixed feelings about this trail. Even following the map, and I’m pretty savvy, I still ended up off course. The switch from trail to suburbia sidewalk was not for me and the signage was lacking...which attributes to my wrong turn. I chose to take a steep, non-trail jaunt, under the road/bridge, to try and get back on course and in the process fell a few times and cracked my phone. My own fault as I tried to look at the map and my phone to get back on trail. I do like that the App warned me that I was going the wrong way! I like that dogs can be off leash. There are some really wonderful tree lined areas and there are shady spots to relax and cool down, so the no shade callout is not the case. Now, maybe the section that I missed is no shade but near the lake you do have shaded spots.

Vanessa Prieto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2019
HikingMuddyOver grownScramble

Easy trail along the along the lake (kid friendly)

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Joan Granato
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2019

The cattle gates were locked and signage was lacking but great views!

Brandon Bockman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2019
Hiking

Would have been a solid 4 star review, but one of the cattle gates was locked closed at just over 2.5 miles in so I had to backtrack and cut through residential neighborhoods

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Leslie Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 7, 2019

May 5, 2019, I missed a few turns at the various junctions due to inattention, but otherwise loved this gem in the city. [Sidenote, the "Seasonal Crossing" on the Twilight Trail (north side of the parking lot) was impassible.]

Reinel Campa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 25, 2019
Hiking
First to Review

Good variety of flat and incline, steeps were short and bearable. Beautiful sweeping views of area. Rated one less star b/c after rain some areas were difficult to cross and easy to go off on wrong route if unfamiliar.

H.L. Chen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking
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Theresa Gunn
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Hiking
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Daniel Ruiz
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Mountain biking
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Daniel Santos
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Hiking
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Alberto Cuevas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking
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Jaclyn M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking
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Simon Kuang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2020
Hiking
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