It takes strong legs and an even stronger sense of humor to take on the trek to Murietta Falls.
If you can laugh off the prospect of... more » hiking six miles one way with over 4,000 feet of ascent for a waterfall without any actual water in it, you have a strong chance of enjoying this hike.
Murietta Falls is a remote, rocky slit in the backcountry between Fremont and Livermore on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. At an elevation of just under 3,000 feet, it's the highest waterfall in the region.
The East Bay hills are bone dry three-fourths of the year, except in the winter, when Pacific storms turn many dry creeks into wet gushers. One of those creeks pours over Murietta Falls.
Even at maximum flow, the waterfall is so-so. The hike, however, is excellent. Two beastly climbs top out on ridges overlooking some of the wildest country in this part of California. In late winter and early spring, the hills turn a shimmering green dotted with an impressive array of wildflowers.
Add in the ego boost from conquering one of the Bay Area's toughest hikes and you'll soon forget you came to see a waterfall. less «