Briones Road

Briones Regional Park, California

Elevation Gain963ft
Trailhead Elevation767ft
Elevation Min/Max767/1233ft
Elevation Start/End767/767ft

Briones Road

Briones Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Contra Costa County, California. It is within Briones Regional Park. It is 2.6 miles long and begins at 767 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 963 feet. Near the trailhead there are drinking waters, restroom, and parking. Along the trail there is a bench. This trail connects with the following: Spengler Trail, Briones Crest Trail, Valley Trail, Seaborg Trail and Black Oak Trail.

Briones Road Professional Reviews and Guides

"There’s a host of trail junctions on this loop, so it’s best to pick up a free map at the kiosk in the parking lot and match it up with a good topo map. From the gate near the information kiosk, start on the Alhambra Creek Trail. This is a typical East Bay trek—plenty of grasslands with valley oaks standing guard—but as you gain elevation on the Alhambra Creek Trail, you’ll be greeted in the spring by the most dazzling wildflower display I’ve ever found. California poppies, buttercups, lupine, and clover cover the landscape."

"A ridge runs through the steep, grass-covered hills and wooded canyons of Briones Regional Park. This loop offers a peripheral view of both sides of the ridge. Wide dirt roads take you up one side of the park, down the other, and back up again. There are some killer climbs, but they are rather short-lived. The payoff is long downhill runs. This is a good place to build strength. There are plenty more trails to come back and explore once you get the lay of the land. Trail surface: Wide dirt road, occasionally fading to dual track."

"Hike the ridge line of rolling hills in the East Bay"

"Briones Regional Park is truly the East Bay's best-kept secret. Tucked away in a remote corner of Contra Costa County, Briones is a virtual wonderland of winding trails, breathtaking views, miles of rolling woodlands, and wild downhills. And the best part is, not many people know it's there."

"This rambling loop, which includes parts of the Homestead Valley, Briones Crest, Table Top, Mott Peak, and Black Oak trails, offers a great introduction to the south half of this expansive, 6117-acre park, an area of rolling hills, high ridges, and forested canyons. The rewards for climbing along the Briones Crest include spring wildflowers and 360-degree views. Part of this scenic loop follows a route named for Ivan Dickson, a dedicated member of the Berkeley Hiking Club and park enthusiast who, upon his death in 1993 at age 95, left a surprise bequest of $500,000 to the regional park district. The yearly interest on this account is used for trail maintenance programs involving groups, organizations, and individuals."

"Framed by four of the major freeways that define the East Bay, near the ever-expanding bedroom communities of Orinda, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek, the bounding green hills of Briones Regional Park are your place to escape after trudging home through that five o’ clock sea of red brake lights. Beginning at the Bear Creek Staging Area, this loop makes a circuit around Mott Peak, the tallest hill in the park, and is a great introduction to what is on offer here. As you become more familiar with the park, you can create many varying loops and also find some of the other access points that are hidden in the back of the surrounding neighborhoods."

"East Bay regulars rate this 5700-acre park as the best of the bunch in the East Bay Regional Park system. With places to hike, bike, and ride horses, it is no wonder this park gets a lot of use. Well, no one said you didn’t have to conform; come on, join the crowds and see how this park’s network of trails can take you to places where you’ll swear no one else has stood."

"This loop is the most popular ride at Briones Regional Park and a great way to acquaint yourself with the type of trails that the park has to offer. The loop follows around the Briones Crest Trail as it rolls around the central portion of the park, through dense forests of live oak and fruit trees, the John Muir Nature Area, past mountain lagoons and back down to the Homestead Valley meadow and Bear Creek. This trail is less taxing than the previous loop; although there are a couple of brief steep climbs and descents, it's suitable for most riders."

"Briones Regional Park offers long, ambling walks through grassy, rolling hills spotted with oak trees, some lovely views both of distant towns and landmarks and of neighboring parkland, with the pleasant surprises of lagoons and a contrasting dense, damp woodland. Hawks, eagles, and turkey vultures soar and circle above the canyons. Black-tailed deer love to munch on brush in the deeper canyons. There are several small creeks lined with ferns and shrubs, and patches of sun-loving wildflowers grow along most of the trails. The landscape changes seasonally from summer gold to winter green, and gives you a taste of California’s Spanish ranch past. Trails Surface: Packed dirt doubletrack trail, single-track dirt trail, and one creek crossing."

"This loop, which includes all or parts of the Diablo View, Spengler, Old Briones Road, Pine Tree, Orchard, and Alhambra Creek trails, gives you a chance to explore the East Bay’s largest developed regional park, an area of deep wooded canyons, forested slopes, oak savannas, and open, grassy ridges. The varied habitat attracts a large variety of birds, from chickadees to golden eagles. The plant life along this route is equally diverse, with a wide range of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. From the southeast corner of the parking area, pass through a gate next to an information board, turn immediately left onto the Diablo View Trail, a dirt road, and follow it gently uphill. Another dirt road, heading straight from the gate, is the Alhambra Creek Trail, part of your return route. This is open, rolling country, the realm of grassland and oak savanna. Soon after leaving the parking area, you pass the Tavan Trail, left, and now the slope changes to moderate as you ascend via well-graded S-bends toward the top of a ridge, where a fine view of Mt. Diablo awaits. Along the way, you pass the Hidden Pond Trail, left, a dirt road. From the ridgetop you also can see Concord, Highway 4, and the west delta."

"The Briones Hills Workout is aptly named. Many cyclists enjoy the “Bear Creek” loop, which is often used in duathlon and triathlon races, as well as the annual Berkeley Hills Road Race (the 54th edition was held in 2011).

The Briones Hills Workout heads in the opposite direction of these races, however, traveling northeast on Bear Creek Road, and then incorporates pleasant and challenging roads on the fringes of the nearby cities of Martinez and Pleasant Hill."

"This hike reminds me of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairy tale: It’s not too long and not too hard, but just about right for most people. Briones is a happy combination of soft, rolling hills; grassy valleys dotted with oaks; seasonal lagoons; and tree-lined creeks. Visiting the heart of the park, this loop climbs along an old ranch road to a viewpoint, then descends past black oaks on the way back to the trailhead."

"This ride consists of a general tour of Briones Park, following the crests high above and around the park whenever possible. Stunning views of the distant countryside in all directions add to the grandeur of this energetic ride. Grass and oak covered slopes, heavily forested canyons, and an occasional meadow give the cyclist a general flavor of the park and add to the temptation to further explore the many other trails in a later visit."

"This ride consists of a general tour of Briones Park, following the crests high above and around the park whenever possible. Stunning views of the distant countryside in all directions add to the grandeur of this strenuous ride. Grass and oak-covered slopes, heavily forested canyons and an occasional meadow give the cyclist a general flavor of the park and add to the temptation to further explore the many other trails in a later visit. The route follows wide fire trails across hills that are quite steep in places. Trails are well marked."

"You would think that for a park that’s so close to cities such as Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Martinez, and Concord, the views from the peaks and ridges from within Briones Regional Parks would be filled with developed cityscapes. So it’s a pleasant surprise to discover that the views are mostly of rolling hills and watershed lands. Though there is a stretch in which the mothball fleet of naval ships in the Suisun Bay is visible, this 8-mile loop ride is a favorite of locals wanting a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Fire roads make up the loop and in some sections, the trail looks more like a wide single- or doubletrack. Technically, the terrain is mild, though a few rain ruts add a bit of spice to an otherwise smooth route—perfect for beginners. The hills, on the other hand, are steep but very brief, and fairly strong stamina is necessary in order to enjoy the ride."

Briones Road Reviews

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If you like scenic views and long sweeping hills you will love this trail. I chose this ride for our first mountain bike ride and it was a good choice to get used to the bikes. The trail is wide and offers a lot of room to choose your track, and to avoid hikers when you encounter them. The views are beutiful and the park has cattle roaming through it. The trail is well maintained and a good place to learn the ropes if one is new to trail riding. You can push it and get going fast on the long down hills if you want to and test your suspension in the ruts. or you can cruise along and take in the scenery. At the end of the trail is a short steeper section of singletrack. We had no problem despite our lack of experience, but it can be fast. not a kiddie trail

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Trail Information

Briones Regional Park
Nearby City
Briones Regional Park
Skill Level
Briones Regional Park
Local Contacts
Thomas Guide Contra Costa County: Street Guide: Page 610 (39th edition, 2009)
Local Maps