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Morgan Territory Regional Preserve
Location Contra Costa County, California
Nearest city Clayton, California and Livermore, California
Area 5,230 acres (2,120 ha)
Created 1975
Operated by East Bay Regional Parks District

Morgan Territory Regional Preserve is a regional park located east of Clayton and north of Livermore, California, bordering on Mt. Diablo State Park, that is part of the East Bay Regional Park District. Since EBRPD acquired the Viera tract, it encompassed 5,230 acres (2,120 ha). The main access road runs from Livermore.

Popular activities in the park are camping, hiking, horseback riding and picnicking. A reservation is required to use the backpacking campsite, but the campsite is not wheelchair accessible. Picnic sites are not reservable. Dogs are allowed and no fee is charged for their admittance.


Prolonged heavy rains during the winter of 2016-2017 caused significant damage to park facilities, especially roads and trails. EBRPD posted the following notice on its website:

Beginning November 1, 2017 through March 1, 2018, the Morgan Territory Backpack Camp will be closed due to limited winter accessibility. After March 1, 2018, the camp closure may remain in effect until access roads dry.

Favorable weather prevailed during the fall of 2017, enabling repairs to be completed sooner than originally forecast. EBRPD announced that the Morgan Territory was reopened on December 5, 2017.


General Description

Morgan Territory Regional Preserve is one of the larger EBRPD (East Bay Regional Park District) holdings. Through the center of the preserve runs a creek, which runs parallel to the Morgan Territory Road. Many of the trails branch off from the main road into the surrounding hills.

Nearby Parks

Other trails, however, lead toward Mount Diablo State Park. On the west side of the park, trails connect to Las Vaqueros Watershed. However, a permit is required to access this region.

Trails and Staging Areas

There is one main staging area, which is located at a pass with an elevation of 2,030 feet (620 m). The Volvon Trails follows a ridge from this pass, maintaining an elevation of about 1,900 feet (580 m). The highest point in the park is on Highland Ridge, at an elevation of 2,317 feet (706 m).

There are camping areas where water is available and restrooms are located. Apart from the main staging area, an area with restrooms and a camping/picnic area can be found on Roger Epperson Ridge along the Highland Ridge Trail.


Early Years

The present-day Morgan Territory was once the homeland of the Volvon, a Native American people whose language was a dialect of the Bay Miwok language. When the Spanish began exploring the area east of San Francisco Bay in 1772, the world of the Volvon changed forever. Some were killed outright by Spanish military missions. More were lured into Catholic missions, where unsanitary conditions and exposure to diseases carried by the foreigners caused the deaths of many others. Most of the native resistance to the way of life the Spaniards imposed ended around 1806. Meanwhile, the King of Spain began dividing the land into enormous parcels that he granted to friends and supporters. Few of these grantees resided on their new grants, but subdivided them into smaller parcels which they gave or sold to others, who created large ranchos. Often these subsequent owners were not Spaniards themselves, but immigrants from the United States, such as John Marsh and Jeremiah Morgan.

Morgan Territory was named for Jeremiah Morgan, a native of Alabama, who came to California in 1849, on a quest for gold. He worked as a miner briefly, then returned to Iowa for his family. He returned to California in 1853. He started a ranch in the area of Mount Diablo in 1857.

Recent Years

Morgan Territory Regional Preserve was originally created in 1975. On April 17, 2015, BRPD announced that it had added a 260 acres (110 ha) parcel of land, formerly called the Viera farm, to the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. The parcel is also adjacent to Mount Diablo State Park The acquisition brought Morgan Territory Regional Preserve area to 5,230 acres (2,120 ha).

Flora and fauna

EBRPD claims that more than 90 species of wildflowers grow in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. Particularly notable is the Diablo sunflower Helianthella castanea, which is native to the foothills of Mount Diablo. Fauna include deer, coyote and occasionally a mountain lion.

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