Brushy Peak Regional Preserve

3point5stars (3.50)1
3stars (3.00)
3point5stars (3.50)
More Info

The West Side Loop Trail as it heads north towards Brushy Peak.
The West Side Loop Trail as it heads north towards Brushy Peak.
Lots of people wax poetic about Redwood Trees and their majesty. Who can argue with that? Still, sometimes there something to be said about short trees, or no trees. They provide a change a pace and a change of scenery. Without a drape of timber all around you there's no telling how far you'll be able to see.

Brushy Peak Regional Park sits on the northern edge of Livermore in the rolling hills beneath the summit that provides its name. It's prominent location in the area drew native Americans prior to the arrival of European settlers and then bandits and ranchers after that. Some parcels of land in the park continue to be used for cattle ranching and as a result hikers may have to pass through a gate or two. The cows will generally keep their distance.

In select spots hardy Oaks and other trees dot the landscape, but much of the terrain is open grassland.
In select spots hardy Oaks and other trees dot the landscape, but much of the terrain is open grassland.
Native fauna also abound. Far outnumbering the cows, ground squirrels are found all around. Their burrow openings pepper the slopes. Meadowlarks nest and hide in the dense grass of flatter areas. With trees scarce, birds have to find a different way to seek cover and security. At times you can pass by a signing Meadowlark that must be only a few feet off the trail and not be able to spot it.

The actual summit of Brushy Peak at just over 1,700 feet is not accessible to hikers outside of a guided tour. The official trails pass tantalizingly close, but a fence just to the north blocks the way. Whereas the East Bay Regional Park District maintains the public trails, the highpoint here is under the auspices of the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District. Register on the LARPD website to find out about upcoming tour dates of the peak area. Note that the preserve area operates under a different set of rules that the remainder of Brushy Peak. For example, pets are not allowed in the preserve, even on leash.

Southeast from the near summit of Brushy Peak a line of windmills dot the ridge line. Strangely, most of the windmills sit idle and only a couple spin vigorously in the wind.

Livermore vista
After passing by Brushy Peak the loop trail turns back toward the trailhead, providing views of Livermore like this one. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Trail View
A couple of kids off in the distance running along Brushy Peak Loop Trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Recommended Item
Recommended Item Moon 101 Great Hikes San Francisco Bay Area (Moon Outdoors)
Ann Marie Brown
List Price: $19.99 Your price: $13.38 Buy Now
Moon Travel Guides: Your Adventure Starts Here

Whether you're trekking through the wildflowers of the South Bay or the redwood forests of Marin, get a breath of fresh air with Moon 101 Great Hikes San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Flexible Hiking Options: Hikes range from short, flat routes suitable for families to day-long, steep treks for more ambitious hikers, with options to extend or shorten many routes
  • Explore the Trails: All hikes are marked with difficulty ratings, features (such as dog-friendly or wheelchair-accessible) and highlights like waterfalls, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, and wildflowers
  • Maps and Directions: Follow easy-to-use maps and point-by-point navigation for each trail, including driving directions to trailheads, GPS coordinates, and public transit options when available
  • Top Hikes: Strategic lists like " Waterfalls," "Short Backpacking Trips," "Peak Vistas," and more will help you choose the right hike for you in Napa, Sonoma, Marin, the East Bay, San Francisco, the Peninsula, and the South Bay
  • Trusted Advice: Ann Marie Brown shares the experience and knowledge she's gained from hiking, biking, and camping in and around the Bay Area more than 150 days a year
  • Tips and Tools: Find essentials like health and safety information, trail etiquette, background on the landscape and history of the trails, and volunteer opportunities so you can help keep the trails as beautiful as you found them
Whether you're a veteran or a first-time hiker, Moon's practical tips and comprehensive coverage will have you ready to lace up your boots and hit the trails.

Looking for hikes beyond the Bay? Try Moon Northern California Hiking or Moon California Hiking. Ready for an overnight adventure? Check out Moon Northern California Camping or Moon California Camping.