Spring will bring hiking opportunities at Mangini Ranch

Spring will bring hiking opportunities at Mangini Ranch

Spring will bring hiking opportunities at Mangini Ranch
An old cattle scale stands in solitude on the Mangini Ranch set to open to public in March. (Kevin Parker photos).

Columns Hit the TrailCONCORD, CA (Nov. 11, 2021) — It’s not often you get a backstage pass to visit a pristine park not yet open to the public, but a series of fortunate events gave me a much-anticipated sneak peek into Mangini Ranch.

Originally called Railroad Ranch, Mangini Ranch is a 208-acre swath of land tucked between Mt. Diablo State Park and the Lime Ridge and Crystal Ranch open spaces. Save Mount Diablo (SMD) acquired the land in 2006 due a generous deal formulated between the Mangini family, SMD and other fundraising partners.

A quick trek through the gate and past an old cattle scale laden with poison oak puts you on a brief uphill jaunt past the headwaters of Galindo Creek, with oaks peppering most of the route. This property is home to several natural springs and a pond, both dry this time of year.

Using a network of seasoned fire roads and newly cut single-track trails, one can tour the ranch in a short amount of time. With nowhere to be on a sunny October afternoon, we took time to enjoy the trees, plants, birds and views to Suisun Bay and beyond.

The ranch is home to many species of animals, including owls, kestrels, bobcats, wild pigs, coyotes, the endangered California red-legged frog and the Alameda whipsnake – we were lucky to see one during our hike. The current species count at Mangini is at 583, including 337 different insects.

The area is also home to grasslands, oak woodlands, chapparal, lots of transition zones and a large grove of desert olives, a rarity in the Bay Area.

Amazing views

My Mangini highlights were the amazing ridgeline views, an old, lightning-struck tree and “The Cove” – an area with picnic tables and a shade structure. Plans there include an outdoor education center, complete with educational signage. The best section of trail winds through a buckeye grove right up against a chapparal transition zone passing numerous desert olives.This really makes it feel like being in two worlds at the same time.

This park delivers easy access with a far away from civilization feel. Starting March 31, 2022, it will be open to groups for educational purposes, including hiking, biking and birding.

SMD has been busy working on this land, with niceties such as wooden bridges, picnic tables and well-planned, scenery-driven trail routings that take you on a roundabout tour of almost all aspects of the area.

Trail names are still a secret, so as we get closer to next March, expect a map and other information via SMD’s website.

Right now, the main users of Mangini Ranch are local schools and other entities that use this land for educational purposes. Groups of three to a hundred will be able to reserve SMD guided tours for April and later.

Thanks again to Denise at SMD for the tour.

For more information, visit savemountdiablo.org.

Mangini Ranch

  • The Spot: Mangini Ranch (closed except by private tour)
  • How Big: 208 acres
  • Distance: 2.66 miles
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Elevation Gain: 427 feet

Contact Kevin Parker with comments or questions by email at LukeHollywood@gmail.com