Length: 4.7 miles (but you can turn around at any point)
Time: 2 hours
Highlights: The best hike leading out of the Burton Valley area. After about 15 minutes of traversing over a hill, past a house, and up a fire road, you are rewarded with an outstanding, but challenging hike that winds along the ridge between Rossmoor and Hunsaker Canyon with fantastic views on both sides. You’ll feel a world away even though you can see Rossmoor part of the time. There is a great picnic table at the end for a snack or lunch before turning around.
Directions: Drive to Burton Valley. Take Rohrer Drive off of St. Mary’s road and follow it past Burton Valley School, past Rancho Colorados Swim Club and up to Henson’s Equestrian Center (2750 Rohrer). Park across the street from the Equestrian Center.
Trailhead: You will see a small sign that says Rohrer Trail. This is the official name but I think the name should have “ridge” in it.
Special Notes: This is a narrow trail with some poison oak (not a lot) and it is recommended to wear long pants or be careful.
This trail will get your heart pumping right away with a few switchbacks up a steep hill between two homes. Enjoy the great views of Mt. Diablo! Drop down the other side and continue until you end up on a driveway in front of a home. Just continue past the home and you’ll see the beginning of a fire road on the opposite side. There is some cool outdoor artwork to admire.
Going up the fire road is another noticeable climb and you’ll be thinking “I hope this is worth it!.” It will be. You’ll pass by a gate on your way up. Keep going up and over the hill. On your way down on the other side you’ll see a second gate across the fire road and maybe 15 yards before it will be a little trail that veers off to the right. It takes about 15 minutes to reach this junction and it is the beginning of the best part! This narrow trail will wind along the ridge for about 45 minutes.
The trail is fun but a bit challenging. It goes up and down, through lots of varied plant zones, over rocks, through gates, etc. It has a little bit of everything and it’s all very scenic. As you traverse the ridge you’ll see views of Roosmoor on one side and views of Hunsaker Canyon and Las Trampas Peak on the other side.
You may notice tire tracks on the trail. There is apparently at least one mountain biker who has the skills to come down this “single track” trail. Very impressive!
There are some special things to look for along the way. At one point on the hike you’ll go through a tiny little gullywith rock walls on both sides. About 20 yards before you reach that there is a little trail off to the right with a Buddha statue – smiling in the sun (see picture).
There are three gates to go through along the way. Soon after going through the first gate you’ll notice a little trail that heads down the hill to the right. This goes down into Hunsaker Canyon, ending up near the barn.
After about 40 minutes of hiking you’ll reach a nice bench with a views out over Rossmoor with Mt. Diablo in the distance (see picture). This is a nice spot to take a quick break or a good turnaround point if you don’t want to go all the way to the end. You’ll see a little “TG 14” sign that must be a trail down into Rossmoor. You’ll want to continue along the ridge.
After about an hour, and roughly 2.3 miles of hiking, the trail will split into two as it gradually climbs to the top of the final hill. Going right will take you to a fire road that will lead you up to Las Trampas Peak if you take a right (1 – 1.5 miles?). Staying left will lead to a nice picnic table for a well-deserved rest and is the turnaround spot (see picture).