Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve, East Bay Regional Park District, Contra Costa County
The Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve is a hiking trail and dog walking land close to the Interstate 680 highway and near to the residential neighborhood of San Ramon. Its 529 acres are also perfect for jogging, exercising or picnic leisure under old oak trees.
Some of the reserve has pathways solely for hikers, others are for multi-use, such as horseback riders and cyclists, and there are unpaved routes where also for multi-use but wheelchairs are not suitable for much of the terrain on the reserve.
There are a few options for taking a route through the reserve: the Stream View walk is a loop around the reserve which changes to the Grey Fox Trail and its midpoint. If you take the start of your hike from the south eastern boundary, you can fulfill the Red Tail Hawk Trail.
The entire reserve can be completed in about three hours, making it perfect for those with a free afternoon to spare. At one point, where the Red Tail Hawk Trail and the Stream View Trail meet, you can actually see uninterrupted views of the foothills of Mount Diablo. Here the rolling hills and natural landscape block out the civilization, so you can see no sign of freeways or housing developments.
There is ample parking available at the edge of the residential neighborhood. Entry to the park is free but there are no permits issued for overnight camping as the reserve strictly closes at 10 pm each day.
The reserve will be closed to cyclists and horse riders during wet weather. Indeed, the fall season here sees the deciduous valley and black oak trees mark the season appropriately. Springtime is best here as the grass is lush green, wildflowers bloom everywhere, nature is at its very best and the temperature is warm but not too hot.
It is the perfect setting for a general stroll through lush countryside pasture and the distance you’ll cover on the trails is approx. 2.5 miles (if you loop the reserve). If you need gas, a pay phone, restaurant, café or dining services, you should visit the nearby Bollinger Canyon and San Ramon Valley Boulevard.
There are no restrooms on the reserve and maps are only available online. It is strongly recommended you stick to any of the three trails within the reserve and cross into the adjacent boundaries, as this area is private land.