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Vargas Plateau Cliff Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.8 (9) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

East Bay ride with terrific views and challenging climbs.


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Map Key

8.5

Miles

13.7

KM

0%

Singletrack

1,181' 360 m

High

131' 40 m

Low

1,317' 401 m

Up

1,317' 401 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

26%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

There is limited parking near the entrance, but you can park nearby and bike to the start. Or park at Vargas Plateau Staging Area.

Overview

This is a relatively new park (opened in 2017) with wide fire roads that climb into the Fremont foothills. Once past the initial 2.0 mile climb, views of the Silicon Valley turn into rolling hills. Watch for cows, cow patties, and a few tight turns!

Need to Know

There is no running water. However, there is a restroom at the Vargas Plateau Staging Area at the top of Morrison Canyon Road.

Description

The entire ride stays on wide, relatively bumpy fire roads. The climbs are challenging going up, but fun to go down! The loop at the high point includes terrific views of Niles Canyon and the entire South Bay. From the highest point on a clear day, you can even see San Francisco!

Start on a mostly flat trail which quickly turns into a steep steep climb. There are about three or four segments on this climb that are much more challenging than the rest of the ride, so feel free to walk these parts if you're struggling.

As you're reaching mile 2.0, the steepest climbs are done and you pass through a gate. You can continue on the main road or take a quick detour to climb the peak on your left.

A few more climbs, and you'll pass a rock outcropping on the right as the trail starts to go downhill. Next, you'll see a gate on the left, around mile 3.0. This is easy to miss, so keep your eyes out for it.

Go through the gate and begin the loop trail. Going in the direction indicated is recommended, counterclockwise, so you'll start the loop by going downhill on the steepest, bumpiest part of the ride. As you finish the loop, head to the top of a short peak to see all the trail you've just covered.

Head back out the way you came and enjoy the descent.

Danger: Some cautionary words:
  • Beware of your downhill speed! The trail is steep and dusty with narrow turns. Slow down to avoid flying off the edge of the mountain or running into hikers or bikers coming up the hill!
  • Watch for cows. In general they will ignore you, so feel free to just go around them.

Contacts

Shared By:

Alex R with improvements by K Drachnik

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 9 votes

#2429

Overall
  3.8 from 9 votes
5 Star
22%
4 Star
56%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
11%
Recommended Route Rankings

#308

in California

#2,429

Overall
51 Views Last Month
3,310 Since Nov 28, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
43%
29%
29%
0%

Photos

Top of Vargas rocks looking toward Mission Peak
Nov 1, 2021 near Fremont, CA
Magical misty afternoon on the Ridge
Mar 24, 2020 near Union City, CA
Shaded corner.
Dec 14, 2017 near Union City, CA
A  nice shaded area.
Dec 14, 2017 near Fremont, CA
Vargas Plateau Regional Park MTB
Jan 5, 2018 near Fremont, CA
A pond on Upper Ranch Trail.
Dec 14, 2017 near Union City, CA

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Check-Ins

Aug 21, 2021
Robert Wyler
I've ridden this loop several times, climbing Morrison Canyon Rd, to Golden Eagle, around Ranch Loop, and back down Cliff trail. Very steep in spots. 11.3mi — 1h 21m
Jun 7, 2020
Alex R
Aug 17, 2019
Dustin Hartle
Jul 13, 2019
Alex R
Apr 13, 2019
Alex R