Ken Dyleski helps Save Mount Diablo with mapping and on-the-ground stewardship work. He collaborated on producing the first edition of the Mt. Diablo map published by Save Mt. Diablo. His GPS enabled digital trail map of the Diablo Grand Loop was published on the National Geographic Topo site. He has a California State Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Diablo Valley College.
Mr. Dyleski's previous articles on the outdoors have been published in Sierra magazine, Northern California Explorer, and the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Forests and Woodlands
Once you’ve visited Morgan Territory Regional Park it will stay in your subconscious, beckoning you to future exploration. The remoteness, elevation, and exposure to the elements in this park makes hikes there much more of an adventure than a quasi-urban walk. If you haven’t yet visited this park, check out the Wikipedia coverage of its historical significance before you go there.
This hike is designed as an overlay of several trails walked in a particular order so that the area’s unique natural features can be easily found and enjoyed to the fullest. Overlay trails make use of existing trails in order to preserve the wilderness as much as possible by not carving out yet another nearby scar on the natural landscape.
Begin at the Morgan Territory Road Staging Area and pick up the free park map with all the trails contained within this hike description. Walk through the entrance gate and pick up the Coyote Tr. Follow it along the fence line through a gate to the signed Condor Trail. Take the Condor over a small bridge and up a short easy hill. Great views down Marsh Creek Canyon to the Morning Side of Mt. Diablo will soon appear. Single track over rocky trail to the signed intersection of the wide Volvon Trail: join it heading left. After only a short hundred feet leave the Volvon to enter the Prairie Falcon Trail on the left. Another spectacular view this time over loose sandstone cliffs without a guard rail comes up. Stay back from the crumbly edge! The first serious poison oak is just ahead, so you’ll need to continue to be alert around you.
Rejoin the Volvon Tr. again, here also named the Bob Walker Tr., for the photographer and environmentalist who worked tirelessly to add more land to this jewel of a regional park. You will come upon another trail junction, but stay left remaining on the Volvon Tr. Continue left yet again at the next junction avoiding the signed Hummingbird Tr. Another junction appears at the signed Blue Oak Tr. but remain on the Volvon/Walker Tr. This will be near the only restroom available on this hike, just before a gate.
Keep going straight ahead through the gate, passing by but not taking the signed Valley View Tr. leading right. Just ahead and still on the Volvon/Walker Tr., watch for a large oak tree on the low ridge coming up on the left. It has a split trunk, the right half of which is down on the ground. Walk up to the ridge top near the oak. Here you will pick up the small but distinct trail leading right, to the very next hill, with an obvious flat top that gives stunning views in all directions, including the Delta and Sierra on clear days. After taking in the view, walk ahead on this small trail (not on the park map) a couple of hundred yards to its intersection with the signed Volvon Loop/Diablo Regional Tr. Follow it left, downhill and across open grassy slopes. Next take a left at the junction with the signed Stone Corral Trail.
Continue past a small pond on the right then walk through a gate just before reaching Marsh Creek. Join the Coyote Trail as it climbs along side the creek under welcome shady oaks. Move carefully around thickets of avoidable poison oak.
A bit of a grind of maybe 600 vertical feet, sometimes on steep persistent trail sections, eventually leads out of the woods at the reed pond a few feet from the junction of the Coyote and Condor trails near where the hike began; the Staging Area which is located straight ahead just out of sight behind the low hill. You will find this hike provides a truly worthwhile survey of the best features of Morgan Territory Regional Preserve!