Brushy Peak Regional Preserve
|Brushy Peak Regional Preserve|
|Nearest city||Livermore, California|
|Area||1,833 acres (742 ha)|
|Operated by||East Bay Regional Parks and the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD) systems|
|Open||Call for times|
Brushy Peak Regional Preserve is a regional park that is part of the East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPD) and the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD) systems. It is located in unincorporated land in Alameda County, just north of Livermore, California.
The park is named for Brushy Peak (elevation 1,702 feet (519 m)), a mountain in the Diablo Range, that has had historical significance dating back to Native Americans who lived in the region before the arrival of European colonizers. It was a focus of trade routes that connected the Bay Area Ohlones, Bay Miwoks, and Northern Valley Yokuts. According to the EBRPD, "The Ssaoam triblet of the Ohlone peoples was probably the most closely linked to the Brushy Peak area, living in the surrounding dry hills and tiny valleys around the peak and nearby Altamont Pass. Ssaoam populations in the dry summer months may have dispersed and reconverged at various camps throughout the year."
The first European to make an expedition into this part of California was Pedro Fages, who passed through the Livermore Valley in 1772, on his return from Monterey. Mission San Jose (in present-day Fremont) was founded in 1797, and the Ssaoams lived there from 1806 to 1836. As mission lands were converted into ranchos by the Mexican government, some of the people left Mission San Jose to work as laborers on the new ranchos. The land was probably grazing land for cattle from Rancho Cañada Los Vaqueros.
During the California gold rush, Brushy Peak became a hideout for bandits, most notably Joaquin Murietta (1829 - 1853). By the 1870s, the land around the peak was becoming increasingly occupied by immigrants from the east, and less hospitable to the outlaws. In 1900 and 1901, the Bohemian Club of San Francisco held outings on the top of the peak.
The Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD) identified Brushy Peak as a potential city park in the early 1970s, and acquired 507 acres (205 ha) for that purpose in 1974. In 1997, LARPD and EBRPD formally agreed to cooperate in the further acquisition, planning, and protection of Brushy Peak Regional Preserve.
The Brushy Peak Loop Trail opened in 2008. It is a 4.4 miles (7.1 km) loop that starts at the Laughlin Staging Area, where the elevation is 640 feet (200 m). The trail follows an old ranch road. Then the trail rises 740 feet (230 m), reaching an elevation of 1,340 feet (410 m) over a distance of 2 miles (3.2 km), where it becomes a single track trail.
Brushy Peak can be reached from Livermore by following Laughlin Road north.[a] Hours vary through the year, so potential visitors should call 888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 3, extension 4512 about times. There is no access fee.
Access to the top of the mountain is closed to the public to protect grounds that were sacred to ancient Native American tribes.
LARPD offers guided tours to the top of Brushy Peak and to the northern part of the park. Call LARPD at (925) 373-5707 for information.
Note: Although a restroom exists, there is no drinking water at the park. Visitors need to bring their own.
The park offers opportunities for hiking, biking and nature study. Dog walking is permitted. Dogs must be on a leash at all times.
The Brushy Peak parking area is one of the two staging areas and points of departure for tour buses that carry passengers into Vasco Caves Regional Preserve for pre-reserved tours. [b] The other staging area is at Round Valley Regional Preserve
New property acquisition
On April 3, 2014, two conservation groups, Center for Biological Diversity and the Alameda Creek Alliance, announced the acquisition of a 79 acres (32 ha) land parcel known as "Eddie's Flat, adjacent to the western boundary of Brushy Peak Regional Preserve.
- Exit Interstate 580 in Livermore at Vasco Road. Turn right (east) on Northfront Road and drive to Laughlin Road. Turn left (north) and travel to the end of the road, where there is a parking area for the preserve.
- Visitors are only allowed into the Vasco Caves preserve on ranger-guided tours. Call 1-888-EBPARKS for more information.
- East Bay Regional Parks District-Brushy Peak Regional Preserve
- "Brushy Peak: hiding in plain sight. Stienstra, Tom. SFGate. January 19,2013. Retrieved September 2014.
- "New Brushy Peak Loop." Trip Advisor. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
- "Vasco Caves Regional Preserve." East Bay Regional Parks District. Accessed March 10, 2017.
- Press release by Center for Biological Diversity. April 3, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
- East Bay Regional Park District.org: official Brushy Peak Regional Preserve website
- Livermore Area Recreation and Park District: official Brushy Peak Regional Preserve website