Address:3899 Laughlin Rd, Livermore, CA 94551 Parking:Free parking lot available at the address above Hours:Jan. 1-31: 8am-5pm, Feb. 1-Mar. 12: 8am-6pm, Mar. 13-April 17: 8am-7pm, Apr. 18, Sep. 5: 8am-8pm, Sep. 6-Nov. 5: 8am-7pm, Nov. 6-Dec. 31: 8am-5pm Type:Hike (moderate) Regulations:Dogs allowed on-leash Best time to visit:Cool days, but I recommend waiting a few days after a rainstorm. In the winter, trails can get extremely muddy and large sections are difficult to hike. In the summer, trails can get very hot and there is little shade. Trails are lush and beautiful in winter. Come early, because the parking lot fills up fast. You can park along the shoulder of the street if no spaces are available in the lot.
Description:Brushy Peak Regional Preserve is 1,979 acres, offers hiking loops in three directions and a 1,702 foot tall landmark named Brushy Peak. Part of this park is a resource protection area, and it has a variety of wildlife, plants, wildflowers and even seasonal wetlands. Native Californians recognize the peak as a sacred area, and the park is at the center of ancient trade routes once used by the Ohlones and Miwoks.This is a relatively new park, with EBRPD acquiring about ¼ of the land in the 1990s.
We hiked the Brushy Peak Loop Trail to West Side Loop, which was about 4.5 miles with 750 ft of elevation gain. This hike takes hikers through picturesque hillsides, open grasslands and scenic vistas. Although the trail just skirts along the peak at about 1,400 ft, there’s still an incredible view from the trail. The beginning of this trail passes a large pond and then weaves around below the windmills, which you’ve probably seen from I-580. It was incredible to see these towering windmills in person. A steep hike up takes you up along a seasonal creek, and this area can become extremely muddy and difficult to hike. Eventually you will have to cross the stream to reach the other side of the trail, and this can be difficult if the surrounding area is muddy. After skirting around a smaller hill with some beautiful views, the trail has a couple switchbacks before beginning a steep ascent to Brushy Peak. There are some brightly colored rock formations here, possibly due to a type of moss. These rocks make for a perfect spot to stop and enjoy the panoramic view of the Bay Area. The remainder of the hike is mostly downhill and skirts along a seasonal stream with mini waterfalls, eventually leading into a large pond.
I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of this park, as I associate Livermore with dry and desolate hills, but this park offers lush green hills, towering trees, seasonal streams and large ponds. It is definitely worth a visit.
There is a pit toilet and trash cans available next to the parking lot, but no drinking water is available. Pack plenty of water with you.
After our hike, we headed to the Livermore Outlets and had a wonderful lunch at Cali Kid Burgers ‘N Shakes. They have plenty of parking, outdoor seating next to the restaurant, and plenty of benches further down if you want some privacy. They offer burgers, salads, and several vegetarian options.