The Las Trampas Ridge Trail climbs through ridgetop cow pastures with sweeping views of the San Ramon Valley. It starts from the Elworthy Staging Area, which opened in 2016 and is Las Trampas’ newest trailhead. The trailhead is still little-used, which is surprising since it’s uniquely scenic — thanks to the remarkably open landscape in this area, the views start almost at once and continue with very few interruptions for the first two miles. In spring, when the grass is green, it’s a genuinely lovely hike; in summer, like most of the East Bay, it’s hot, dry, and dusty.
After the first two miles the cow pastures end and the trail continues to climb through a more varied landscape with fewer and less sweeping views, but from a higher elevation. The trail also becomes more challenging in this area, with lots of small hills.
The main drawback of the Elworthy trailhead is that there aren’t any loop hike options. Even if you reach the main trail network, the steepness of the surrounding trails discourages leaving the ridgetop.
The first five miles of the trail (up to the point where it joins the Eagle Peak loop) are shown here. For a shorter hike, good turnaround points are the Remington Loop side trail for a 4.2 mile hike, or the Del Amigo Trail for a 7.2 mile hike.
From Elworthy Ranch Circle, a steep access road leads to a little trailhead parking lot.
From the parking lot, take the gated dirt road that climbs up the hill. It climbs through a cow pasture, headed pretty much straight up the hill without any switchbacks.
The road becomes better-defined but also very steep as it punches through a little band of trees. This part can get really muddy in the winter. Emerging from the tree, the road soon reaches the open ridgetop and levels out somewhat.
The road meanders over rolling hills with views of suburban Danville below. Sometimes the noise from the freeway can be heard at first, but it gets progressively less noticeable as the hike continues.
After the side trail to Remington Circle, the cow pastures come to an end and the open grasslands give way to scrub. There aren’t nearly as many views after this point and the trail isn’t as scenic. In summer, the scrub is also much hotter than the grasslands. So for a short hike, the Remington Circle intersection makes a good turnaround point.
The trail continues to climb, passing through a small oak grove, and the views, though more limited, become increasingly impressive. The trail also feels more remote in this area.
The landscape gets increasingly rugged, with a lot of up and down. Tome side trails in this area descend off the ridge, but they’re all steep and difficult.
Ahead, the Las Trampas Ridge Trail descends to an intersection, where it changes from a dirt road to singletrack. The narrow singletrack trail switchbacks up a hillside and runs through poison oak-infested woods for a while before emerging onto a sharp, scrub-covered ridgetop with views of Bollinger Canyon and Rocky Ridge to the west; views to the east are blocked by a small ridge.
© 2018, 2023 David Baselt