The Volvon and Blue Oak Trails
Length 5.9 mi · Climbing 300 ft
The Volvon Trail starts at Morgan Territory's main parking lot and runs along Bob Walker Ridge, where there's an attractive blue oak grove. A loop at the end of the trail has some nice views of the Central Valley.
A common variation of this hike involves descending to and returning on the singletrack Coyote Trail, which runs through a densely-wooded canyon. However, I don't really like the Coyote Trail since it's not all that attractive and it's infested with poison oak; it's better to stay on the ridge.
Start at the parking lot and enter the preserve at information display where the maps are. After just a few yards, turn right onto the Volvon Trail.
The trail merges with a dirt road. Continue along the road until it merges with a gravel road. Take the gravel road through open meadows for a third of a mile, then turn left onto the first dirt road, then turn right onto the Blue Oak Trail. This trail descends through a large open meadow bordered with oaks. There are a few glimpses of the Central Valley, but the ridgetop is so wide that you can't really see much. This part of the trail is a little dull, but it's also very popular.
Eventually the trail enters the oak grove. The grove is very open, with none of the usual understory, just oaks growing over a grass lawn.
The Blue Oak Trail ends at an intersection with the Volvon Trail. You could cut the hike short at this point and return on the Volvon Trail. However, up to this point there haven't been any panoramic views, so it's worth going at least a little further to the start of the Volvon Loop, where there's a nice view of the Central Valley. At this point I feel like you might as well hike the loop itself because it has some nice scenic views, but if you want to shorten the hike you could skip the loop and you wouldn't miss too much.
The Volvon Loop doesn't get off to a very good start, as its western half is heavily grazed and somewhat unattractive. Fortunately the scenery improves a lot as the trail curves around to the east side of the ridge. Here it enters an oak grove with occasional views of Round Valley, Los Vaqueros Reservoir, and the Central Valley.
On the way back, stay to the right, on the Volvon Trail. The Volvon Trail actually has a lot more oaks than the Blue Oak Trail. The best part of the ridgetop grove is around the Hummingbird Trail (the short trail that connects the Blue Oak and Volvon Trails); the oaks are a little denser and lusher in this area.
Turn right onto the Condor Trail, an attractive single track that leaves the oak grove and continues along a grassy hillside. The trail ends at a small pond just below the parking lot.
© 2015 David Baselt