MAY 5, 2021 – The trail through East Bay Municipal Utility District property north of Castro Valley and Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area begins with a walk in the woods before ascending with increasing intensity, rising nearly 500 feet in less than half a mile below Dinosaur Ridge. The trail descends from the peak back into woods above Cull Creek, undulating intensely at times along the steep hillside. Find the trail map here.
We are hiking the 390-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail. Sign up to follow our progress here.
Some of the grades on the fire roads that often double as the Ridge Trail on East Bay Municipal Utility District property kinda freak me out.
After climbing nearly 500 feet in less than half a mile on the way to Cull Canyon, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the “optional” side trip up yet another imposing grade to Dinosaur Ridge. FOMO kept us moving, and the effort was worth every labored breath (audible in the video below).
Dinosaur Ridge was the highlight of a day that saw the temperature top out at a sultry 87 degrees. There always seemed to be a fly buzzing in my ear. (Also audible on the video.) Fortunately, the worst of the elevation gain was early in the hike, when the temperature was cooler.
Cull Canyon, while shaded, lacked any hint of a breeze as the day warmed, making for a steamy walk as the narrow, wooded trail rose and fell along the hillside. I could have used a bench for a rest but settled for leaning against a tree. Thankfully, we loaded up with plenty of water after nearly running out the week prior in the Pinole Valley. We are trainable.
I loved this Ridge Trail segment. The hike seemed to contain a taste of everything the east bay offers – grassy hills, wildflowers, stunning views, cattle gates with complicated latches, bay laurel and California live oak forests, dry creeks. Of course there was also poison oak galore and some traffic noise. Both are hard to escape in this part of California.
The highlight of the walk was Dinosaur Ridge. As we finished the steep trudge up another of the Ridge Trail’s ubiquitous fire roads, the “spine” greeted us with a bouquet of California poppies and a regal fence lizard. Naturally the view was stunning. One of the obvious perks of 390 miles of ridge trail is that there is almost always a stunning view — after 1000’ of elevation climb, naturally. In this case, it was worth the effort.
Miles we hiked0
(with returns and connectors)
Our Progress Hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail – 34 out of 390 miles8.5%