Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,227.00 ft (983.59 m)
Trail type
12.40 mi (19.96 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

To enjoy the Ohlone wilderness, you will need to purchase a trail permit, which also doubles as a semi-durable detailed map and can come in very handy. It has resources like equestrian guidelines, camping information, and phone numbers to call should you need them. This permit will last you for one year of future visits; you can hike in the Ohlone wilderness however many times you want once you have it.

Armed with your map and enough water (water sources in the Sunol Park/Ohlone Wilderness are unreliable to non-existent), start at Sunol Visitor Center in Sunol Regional Wilderness. (I opted to describe the map as semi-durable because although it is water-resistant and quite sturdy, it didn’t survive the high-speed winds that can sometimes blast Ohlone Wilderness without damage.) Cross the bridge to the other side of Alameda Creek and turn right. You’ll soon arrive at a fork; keep right, on Canyon View Trail. After half a mile, at trail marker 15, turn left and join McCorkle Trail.

Follow McCorkle Trail for 1 mile, then turn left at the end of it onto Cerro Este Road (trail marker 17). Follow the road for 0.4 mile ad then turn right (trail marker 18) to joint the continuing McCorkle Trail.

Follow McCorkle Trail for 1.2 mile. You will near the bottom of a valley and see a cattle gate. Walk through the gate and note any warnings and information posters that are posted there. Make sure to close the gate after you so the cattle don’t run where it’s not supposed to go.

Follow the trail uphill. As you walk up the hill, you will pass several campsites. Stick to the main path, walking right past Hawk’s Nest site, which is a perfect spot halfway up the climb for a little snack break. There’s also an outhouse — however, you’re required to bring your own toilet paper and pack it out (=don’t throw it in the toilet; put it in a baggie and carry it back to the trailhead with you where you can dispose of it).

Walk through the SF Water District gate at the end of the campground. You’re on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail now; follow it for 1.3 mile after you’ve left the campground, then turn left onto a service road (trail marker 20), where the official Ohlone Wilderness Trail continues. The public isn’t allowed on any other roads besides the Ohlone Wilderness Trail. Walk on the road for 0.2 mile and then keep right (trail marker 21). Walk straight through the following crossing and soon, you’ll reach the end of SF Water District land. Walk through the gate and you’re back in Ohlone Regional Wilderness.

Walk straight, following Ohlone Wilderness Trail where it crosses Billy Goat Road (trail marker 22). Follow the trail (this portion of it is also called Mid Road) for 1.25 mile until you reach a junction with Bluff Road (trail marker 23).

Turn right onto Bluff Road. After 0.4 mile, Bluff Road splits. You can opt to turn either right or left, as the road eventually joins back together. Both options feature a steep descent, and while turning right will take you only downhill, turning left means a steep downhill plus a little bit of mild climbing. The right option is 0.6 mile long while the left option is just under 1 mile.

After you’ve descended from The Bluff, follow the trail for 0.35 mile, then turn left where the trail joins Billy Goat Road. After 0.25 mile, walk through the gate and keep left again (you’re back in SF Water District). After less than 0.1 mile, pass through another gate to leave SF Water District.

Follow the trail for 0.6 mile, then join Camp Ohlone Road (trail marker 45), on other maps also named Geary Road. Keep right (straight) and follow the road for 1.1 mile until you reach another gate. Walk through it (this gate is there to keep vehicles away — if it’s closed simply climb over it) and follow it for 0.6 mile. You’ll walk past the “W Tree.”

Turn right onto Canyon View Trail (trail marker 43) and follow it for a bit over 1 mile, crossing Cerro Este Road halfway through. From this trail, you will have a view of the canyon, dubber “Litte Yosemite.”

McCorkle Trail cuts through Canyon View Trail (trail marker 15); stay on Canyon View Trail and follow it all the way back to the bridge, on the other side of which is the visitor center, bathrooms, and your car.

Please note that even though it might seem like an easy walk, this hike can be quite demanding with its continuous up-and-downs and steep sections. Plan to spend more time than you’d usually do on a hike of this distance. You might also have to get off the trail here and there to walk around herds of cows. Never step between a mama cow and her calf.

Coyotes and mountain lions also frequent these hills. Keep your eye out and, if you need to listen to music or a podcast, keep only one earphone in. Weather can get quite extreme in these parks, especially in summer. Bring enough water and pay attention to how you’re feeling. Be sun-smart. There isn’t much to any shade along the way. In winter, bring extra layers — strong chilly winds or rain can make an appearance anytime.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Solitude. Great Views. A lot of wildflowers in spring.


Parts can get very muddy. No water. Quite exposed.

Trailhead Elevation

413.00 ft (125.88 m)

Highest point

2,660.00 ft (810.77 m)


Vault toilet
Backcountry camping

Typically multi-day


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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