Pleasant Hill’s unique scenery and calming atmosphere lend a hand in making the area a premier spot for hiking.
Whether you’re seeking a quiet stroll through the park or you want to get your blood pumping on a challenging path, Pleasant Hill has the perfect route for you. Between year-long availability, dog-friendly parks, and educational trails, you can’t go wrong with a hike in Pleasant Hill.
1. Lafayette Ridge Trail
Distance: 6.6 Miles
Located in Briones Regional Park, the Lafayette Ridge Trail provides a moderately challenging route suitable for most ages and capabilities. The path varies enough in steepness that your hike will never get dull, and the change in elevation makes it easy to ramp up your workout if you desire. The park is located far enough away from the crowds of downtown, so there's little noise pollution, making your day outdoors that much more peaceful. The sweeping views from Lafayette Ridge Trail are also enough to take your breath away, so remember to slow down and take a good look around you. You won't regret it. Have a pet who loves to explore? Dogs are more than welcome to join you on your adventure, just as long as they stay on a leash and owners make sure to clean up after them.
2. Sonoma Ridge Trail
Distance: 9.5 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Sonoma Ridge Trail, located in Jack London State Historic Park, provides a nearly 10-mile trail for outdoorsy folks to get active on. The course can range from moderate to difficult, depending on your speed and resistance, and is open to more than just hikers. Horses and bikes are permitted on the trail as well, so keep an eye out for some furry friends passing by. The trail is also shadier than most, so it’s a perfect route for those hot summer days or if you are planning on bringing children along! If you’re looking for a family-friendly walk, head out on a journey to explore Sonoma Ridge Trail’s beautiful wildflowers and the butterflies that emerge each spring. This trail also happens to be one of the few pathways nearby with little traffic, so it’s ideal for those wanting a more secluded hiking experience.
3. Mt. Wanda Trailhead
Distance: 2.4 Miles
One of Pleasant Hill’s most popular loops is this easy 2.4-mile trail near John Muir National Historic Site. While the area is quite well-known and well-liked, it’s rarely very crowded as it takes its hikers through dense oak foliage and delivers beautiful scenery to all who follow the way. It’s the perfect path for those looking to take a short walk or head out for a quick jog, and it’s even better for those who want to end their adventure with a lovely picnic in the park. Both bikes and dogs are permitted on the trail.
4. Tomales Point Trail
Difficulty: 9.4 Miles
Gain views of Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, and the Pacific Ocean's brilliant blue waters from the lively Tomales Point Trail. This moderately challenging, 9.4-mile route is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers who want to get a close up look at the natural beauty encompassing Pleasant Hill. The trail is surrounded by enchanting wildlife, including dozen of bird species, elk, and more. You might even get to see horses, as they are permitted on the trail and often wander down the path with their owners. The path is also accessible throughout the entire year, so you and your friends can come back and explore what each season brings to the area's extraordinary land.
5. Waterfalls of Mount Diablo Loop
Distance: 7.9 Miles
The Waterfalls of Mount Diablo Loop is a prominent trail that features a stunning waterfall and natural landscape that comes to life once winter storms saturate the area. The route is considered somewhat difficult and challenges hikers to break a sweat as they explore everything the loop has to offer. Hikes are typically hot and dry, so make sure to bring plenty of water and reapply sunscreen often. It’s not uncommon to see walking tours and nature trips using the path either! There’s so much to see and do on the 8-mile loop, so make sure to really soak it all in as you make your way through. Paid parking is available at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center for $6 a vehicle.
Next time you’re itching to get outdoors, we hope you grab your water bottle, put on your sneakers, and check out our top 5 hiking trails in Pleasant Hill, CA.