Morgan Territory Day Hike

This 5.9 mile ramble is a beautiful hike through the high ridge points in Morgan Territory near San Francisco.  Solitude is king on these trails and, other than the odd horse rider or hiker, you’ll likely have most of the trail to yourself. The road to the trailhead is a scenic curvy drive along occasional one lane roads from either Walnut Creek or Livermore. The 30-60 minute drive keeps the crowds to a minimum on most weekends.

Morgan Territory Hikers

From the parking lot trailhead you’ll drop about 600 vertical feet over the first mile into a shaded mossy garden of rocks, trees, and a calming rambling brook.  The trail in the forest can become a bit tough to follow.  Stay on the right side of the creek and you’ll quickly find the trail again as it descends down the ridge.

The wildflowers in spring as you climb into an open span of meadow will quickly put your mind at ease.  You can imagine how Jeremiah Morgan must have felt when he saw this area in 1857 on a hunting trip.  It wasn’t long before he established his ranch in the area.  The meadows sweeping up the hillside are beautiful all times of the year, especially in spring when the grasses are green and wildflowers are blooming.

From the sweeping meadows the trail starts to climb, gaining about 400 feet in elevation over the next mile.  At the half way point of the hike the sweeping views to the west of Mount Diablo, to the north towards the delta and surrounding communities, and to the eastern farm lands and Sierra Nevada mountains (on a clear day) are a great place to stop for a shady rest.

The trail back to the parking lot is almost directly south through a mixture of open meadows and shaded woodland.  The Prairie Falcon detour off the main trail at mile 4.8 will take you to some exposed rock cliffs giving more sweeping views to the west towards Mount Diablo and the valleys between you.  It’s another great place to stop and take in the scenery and solitude.  The cliffs are steep here so be careful.  From here it’s a short hike, slightly uphill, back to the parking lot.

The hike profiled here is well worth the drive.  The scenery is some of the best in the area.  From San Francisco it is just over an hour’s drive away and well worth the trip.

 


Download map of this hike for your GPS device:

Right-click the link below and choose “Save Link As…” or “Download Linked File” to save the GPS file to your computer. Upload the GPX file which you have just downloaded to your GPS device per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Right-click and choose “Save Link As…” or “Download Linked File”

 


The Details:

Mileage 5.9 miles Elevation Climbed 1,087 feet
Experience Level All Route Type Loop
Morgan Territory Elevation Profile
Best Weather Look for sunny and 80 degrees or below in Clayton, CA (usually Oct-Jun)
Weather Notes A significant portion of the trail will likely be muddy after heavy winter rains
Crowds You will likely see very few people on this hike
Morgan Territory Trail Map
Fees None Dogs Allowed Yes
Closest Airport Oakland Airport Distance Away 36 miles (50 min drive)

 

Trail Directions:

The trail is easy to follow with the below directions. Almost all sections of the trail are well marked except for a short section after you turn on the Condor Trail and head downhill near a small creek. Stay to the right of the creek as you head downhill and you’ll soon see the well defined trail ahead.

Start: Morgan Territory Road Staging Area

Mile Marker Description
0.0 Condor Trail: north heading slightly downhill and to the left on the main trail leaving the parking lot
0.14 Coyote Trail: Head left around the small lake (may be dry in summer and fall)
0.82 Keep going straight on the Coyote trail past the Mollok Trail on your left
1.58 Stone Corral Trail: No trail marker but the Coyote Trail ends here as the Stone Corral trail heads uphill towards the right
2.57 Volvon Loop / Bob Walker Loop Trail: Head straight at the trail intersection
3.27 Stay right as you pass the Valley View Trail on your left
3.69 Volvon Trail: Continue straight and to the left as you pass the Volvon Loop Trail heading back to the north
3.94 Continue straight and to the right as you pass the other end of the Valley View Trail on your left
4.63 Volvon Trail: the Hummingbird Trail continues straight as you take a right to continue on the Volvon Trail
4.85 Prairie Falcon Trail: Turn right
5.42 Volvon Trail: Turn right
5.45 Condor Trail: Turn right heading downhill

End: 5.9 miles

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