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New trails above Pleasanton.

Like the Maginot Line, Pleasanton Ridge was seen by some East Bay conservationists as a line of defense -in this case, against encroaching development in the hills some 30 miles southeast of Oakland. The open, grassy hillsides once dotted with oaks and olive groves were nearly developed, but the ridge was saved in 1,800-acre Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park now open for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding (no rentals).

With summer's blistering heat past, now's a good time to hit the trails. There are 11 miles of them; all branch off Oak Tree Trail, which climbs 900 feet from the parking lot to the ridge's 1,510-foot crest, affording great views of two higher ridges to the west, the Livermore Valley to the east, and broad-shouldered Mount Diablo to the north.

For a moderately difficult 8-mile trek, take Oak Tree Trail 11/4 miles west to Ridgeline Trail, then go north on Ridgeline and past old olive groves before picking up Sinbad Creek Loop for the return. For an easier 5.7-mile loop (through grasslands and oak and madrone), take Oak Tree to its end, then head north on Thermalito Trail. In 2.2 miles, you'll hit Ridgeline; hike it a mile south, then take Oak Tree back to the parking lot.

Park hours are dawn to dusk, and entry is free. Bring water. From 1-680 southbound, exit at Sunol Boulevard/Pleasanton, drive west on Castlewood Drive, then north on Foothill Road. Northbound, exit at Sunol Boulevard/Castlewood.
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Title Annotation:Pleasanton Ridge
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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