Address:2536 Morrison Canyon Rd, Fremont, CA 94539 Parking: Free parking lot at the address above. Note that the parking lot only accommodates 25 vehicles and no parking is allowed outside of the parking lot (see additional info below). Hours: Apr6-May17: 8am–8pm, May18-Sep8: 8am–9pm, Oct1-Oct31: 8am–7pm, Nov1-Mar7: 8am-5pm, Mar8-Apr5: 8am–7pm Type: Hike (moderate) Regulations: Dog regulations are not posted. We ran into a park officer who told us that dogs are allowed off-leash if under voice control in undeveloped areas. Be careful of mountain bikers. Dogs should be leashed near cattle. Best time to visit: Anytime on a cool day, as the trails are fully exposed to sunlight and get hot under a dog's paws. Some sections of the trails are also strenuous.
A note on parking: To reach the park you will need to drive up a one-lane road for approximately 1 mile. Drive careful here because the road has many twists and turns and it's difficult to see oncoming traffic. If you encounter another vehicle, one of you may have to pull over or back up. Since it's closure, the road has been widened in some parts but you still need to be careful. The parking lot only has space for 24 cars, and no parking is allowed on the road. I can see it being a nightmare to reach the park on busy weekends, so I would recommend only visiting early in the morning on a weekend, or better yet, a weekday. I just heard EBRPD recommend taking Vargas Rd. from the east instead of Morrison Canyon Rd. from the west since Morrison Canyon has a long stretch of one-way road.
Description: After a 10-month closure, this park re-opened on 5/15/17. This is the first EBRP to open in 6 years, and it took 23 years battling with nearby residents to open it (I can see why with the tricky parking situation). This 1,249-acre park rewards you with panoramic views of the bay as soon as you begin your hike, but the views get even better as you continue to hike. We started our hike on the Golden Eagle Trail (0.71 miles long), which snakes along the ridge through a small patch of trees and up a steep hill to another cattle gate to the Upper Ranch Trail (the first trail split to the right). This trail has been recently mowed but still has short grass and weeds covering the dirt. Be careful on the first stretch of this trail as there are some hidden deep holes along the trail (Bailey fell in one that was about 1.5ft deep, but was OK). The trail circled the hillside and went up a moderately steep hill to the View Point at 1,170 ft. The View Point is a plateau with 360 degree views of the bay (from the San Jose area to the San Mateo Bridge) and the hills. We then hiked down and continued on the Upper Ranch Trail loop. The trail starts out mostly flat and then descends for about a half a mile with panoramic bay views in front of you. You will pass through a short shady, wooded area, past a pond and then the trail climbs back up a steep slope. The steep trail takes you back to the beginning of the loop and levels off. This loop adds 1.45 miles to your hike. There were no cattle on the trails up to this point. We then hiked part of the Deer Gulch Loop Trail. There were cattle close to the trail and fresh cow pies covering the trail. The trail begins to descend and you again have panoramic views of the bay around you. We headed back after not too long on this trail and our entire hike was just over 5 miles long. To extend your hike, you can continue hiking down the Deer Gulch Trail for about 2.5 miles and even hike the 0.29 mile Cliff Trail, but you will have to hike back up to where you began. This will be a very steep hike, with about an 800ft elevation gain.
I believe all trails in this park are bike and horse-friendly, so make sure your dog has good voice recall if off-leash. We encountered a few mountain bikers barreling down the steep trails, and they can be dangerous to your dog. There are cattle on some of the trails, but they did not bother us.
There are picnic tables, garbage cans and a pit toilet available near the parking lot. This park does not have running water, so bring plenty of your own.