Morgan Ridge Territory Preserve is a pawfect spot for a Bay Area backpacking trip with your buddy! Located near Livermore, CA the park has tens of miles of trails for you and your buddy to sniff and explore, with difficulties ranging from the easy to the slightly challenging. There’s free parking on Morgan Territory Road, but spaces are pretty limited, so it’s best to get there early, especially on the weekends. The parking lot may fill up quickly, but at over 5,000 acres, the park is huge -- depending on the trail you take, you and your pooch may only run into only one or two other souls. Morgan Ridge has plenty of under-5-mile routes that are ideal for day hikes, but if you want to explore the full extent of what this pawesome preserve has to offer, you can pitch your tent at the backpacking campsite. Remember to call ahead and make a reservation first!
The first thing that often strikes visitors to Morgan Ridge Territory is just how open it all feels -- most of the preserve is given over to grassland, and wildflower meadows spread over rolling, oak-studded hills. Visit in spring or early summer and you’ll be treated to the sight of woodland star, California buttercup, popcorn flower, California poppies, and bluedicks in bright bloom. Trails run along streams and past ponds, and many feature fabulous views of Mount Diablo. Indigenous peoples believed this area to be the birthplace of god-like entities the First People, and many of the trails bear their names. The five-mile Morgan Territory Regional Loop Trail features only gradual inclines and may suit the less athletic among us, while four-pawed fitness freaks might want to try their luck on the more challenging, seven-mile Volvon Loop.
Like most open spaces, the trails at Morgan Ridge Territory Preserve vary in terms of accessibility, though as you’re unlikely to find an entirely level route, a certain level of fitness is required. Many areas of the preserve lack any real tree cover, so prepare for sun and wind! In terms of facilities, you’ll find pit toilets dotted throughout the park, and water is available at the campsite. Be sure to bring waste bags for your buddy, and enjoy your time at Morgan Ridge!