Distance: ~ 6 miles (with an option for an additional 3 miles, see description)
Elevation Gain: 800' (on the moderate side), 1300' with the option
Est. Time: 4 hours, 5 to 6 hours with the option
Dogs are allowed in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve
Description (from weekendsherpa.com):
Remote and wild, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve is a throwback to what California must have looked like waaayyy back in the day. Set at 2,000 feet in the southeastern edge of Mount Diablo State Park, this area doesn't see many visitors, making it memorably tranquil for those who actually get there. A lot of the hiking trails are exposed, making spring an ideal time to visit. It's also when wildflowers start popping along the wind-whipped grassland. Early season bloomers include buttercups, milkmaids, and blue-eyed grass.
(from the park brochure):
Morgan Territory’s sandstone hills are adorned in spring with more than 90 species of wildflowers, including the Diablo sunflower (Helianthella castanea), which grows only in the foothills of Mount Diablo. Deer, coyote, and the elusive mountain lion may be seen here, and a variety of raptors soar overhead. Expansive ridgetop views reveal Mount Diablo to the west, Mount St. Helena to the north, and the snow-covered Sierra to the east. Lowland valleys cradle the headwaters of Marsh Creek.
The late spring rains should produce a good display of wildflowers on the hike. A pdf guide to the wildflowers of Morgan Territory may be downloaded HERE
We'll leave the staging area, where there are toilets, water and picnic tables, on the Coyote Trail, bearing right onto the Condor Trail and then left onto a short stretch of the Volvon Trail. A side trip onto the Prairie Falcon Trail skirts the edge of Marsh Creek canyon with good views of Mount Diablo and then rejoins the Volvon Trail. A right onto the Hummingbird Trail connects to the Blue Oak Trail. In a bit over 1/2 mile we rejoin the Volvon Trail and good views across the Central Valley. Continue to the Volvon Loop Trail and the Stone Corral Trail, where will stop for lunch in a partially shady meadow. The wooded and shady Coyote Trail follows Marsh Creek uphill to the starting point.
If people are still feeling energetic there is an option for an additional 3 mile loop leaving the staging area on the Clyma and Mollok Trails, returning on the Coyote Trail.
A map of the park may be viewed or downloaded from the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve website http://www.ebparks.org/parks/morgan
What to Bring:
There is quite a bit of sun exposure on the trails. Sunblock and a hat are recommended, along with plenty of water (at least 2 quarts per person). At 2000 ft elevation expect temperatures 5 to 7 degrees cooler than Livermore. Dressing in layers with a windbreaker is a good idea. Bring snacks and a lunch.
From eastbound I-580 in Livermore, exit at North Livermore Avenue (exit 52B) and turn left at the bottom of the off ramp. In about 3.6 miles North Livermore Ave. ends; bear left onto Manning Road. In 0.5 miles turn right onto Morgan Territory Road and follow it 5.5 miles to the Morgan Territory Staging Area which will be on the right. Parking is free.
Note: Morgan Territory Road narrows to a lane and a half as it climbs the nearly 1500 ft. from Manning Road to the staging area. It is popular with hardcore cyclists so please be vigilant.
Google Earth coordinates: 37º 49' 6.25" N, 121º 47' 45.14" W
Driving time: Approx. 20 mins from the I-580 North Livermore exit.
Carpooling is always a nice idea. If people want to get into a carpool, we've set up an unmoderated discussion group you can use to set up carpools. To join it, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mitcnchikers_carpooling and then send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post from the web interface at the above address. This requires you to get a free yahoo account; sorry about this, but in our experience, they've been harmless and respect your spam preferences. Unfortunately (cynics cackle here), the old email signup interface seems to have stopped working. In any case, in the message, be sure to include where you're coming from, contact information and how many of you there are.
If there's any ambiguity about the weather on the day of the hike, you can check the forecast the morning of the hike. The NWS forecast for Livermore may be found at http://forecast.weather.gov/
If it's raining significantly, the hike is off. If the weather is ambiguous, we will send out an email to the email@example.com list on the morning of the hike. You can easily join that email list by going to the http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mitcnchikers/ web page and clicking on the "Join This Group!" button. After you're on the list, you'll receive emails about each upcoming hike ~1 week in advance. The volume on that list is very low (~2 emails/month), so spam won't be a problem.
Joining any hike is entirely voluntary and participants assume any and all risks associated with the activities. By registering or attending this event, participants agree to the conditions posted here: MITCNC Liability Waiver