East Bay Hills: Orinda to Willow Park Golf Course

Sunday, January 29, 2012

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The ride that Michael and I are leading today starts out at the Orinda BART parking lot. Parking is free on the weekends. Water and restrooms are available inside the station. It’s a cool crisp morning as we head out of the parking lot towards Moraga Way.


The 4+ miles out to Canyon Rd is a nice warm up to the upcoming climbs on Pinehurst and Redwood Rds.

The short climbs on Canyon Rd drops you onto Pinehurst Rd. The gentle climb up Pinehurst Rd heading south is around 1.5 miles with an average grade of about 3%. It’s a quiet stretch of road with minimal traffic. You’re at the top when you reach the Pinehurst Gate Staging Area. The twisty descent takes us down to Redwood Rd.

We take a left and head SE on Redwood Rd for the next 7.5 miles to Willow Park Golf Course. The climb on Redwood starts off gently at around 1.5-2% for the first few miles. The gradient increases to ranges of 5-7% after you pass Bort Meadows. Beware of the false summit! The road levels out as you near the top at Marciel Gate. From that point, it’s a fun sweeping descent for the next 3.5 miles to the golf course. Other than cyclists, the weekend traffic along this road is usually filled with folks revving it up on their motorcycles.




The lunch stop is at Willow Park Golf Course. You can purchase hot food at the  Coffee Shop along with hot and cold drinks. Water and restrooms are available for public use.


After lunch, we return on Redwood Rd back to Pinehurst. The descent we had earlier is now the climb; it’s a bit steeper and longer. The first mile out from the golf course is pretty flat; the climbing begins after you cross the bridge over the creek. The gradient ranges from 6-7% for the next 2.5 miles back up to Marciel Gate. From there, the rolling terrain and descent takes us back to the intersection with Pinehurst Rd.



The climb up south Pinehurst to Pinehurst Gate is about 1.25 miles with an average grade of 4%. There is one short steep pitch as you approach the top. The descent is very twisty with a few tight hairpin turns! Watch for gravel and debris on the road!

Pinehurst is one of the most beautiful back roads in the East Bay Hills! Riding under the redwoods is truly magnificent; it’s very peaceful and calming. I like to ride in silence to let my mind & body rejuvenate and absorb all this natural beauty. Give it a try next time; focus on the surroundings and breathe-it’s amazing and quite refreshing!

The climb on Pinehurst from Canyon Rd to Skyline Blvd is about 4 miles long. The gentle rolling terrain for the first few miles takes you through the gorgeous redwoods into the town of Canyon.


The climb up to Skyline begins when the road takes a left hairpin turn-it’s about 1.25 miles with an average grade of about 5.25%. The last quarter mile is the steepest; the gradient increases to 9% and maxes out at around 12% as you near the top.


We continue on Skyline Blvd to Grizzly Peak Blvd. Water and restrooms are available at Sibley Park.

The ride along the ridge is always fun and the views are fabulous! Slow down  for a bit and admire it!


The climb up the south side of Grizzly Peak starts after you cross Claremont Ave; it’s about 1.5 miles with an average grade of 6%. The views are amazing here! The look out points are strategically located along this ridge for optimal viewing of the Bay Area and beyond.

Be cautious on the descent, the road conditions are horrible; there are many cracks and fissures on this road along with gravel and debris.

We wind through the residential neighborhoods along Grizzly Peak and reach our turn onto Wildcat Canyon Rd. The terrain is most flat with a couple of small bumps along the way. The road conditions along Wildcat are really bad too! Hold on to your handlebars!

It’s funny how the pavement improves greatly once you cross the Contra Costa County line. Wildcat has been repaved from that point all the way to Camino Pablo. It makes for a very nice descent back to Orinda.

Thanks to everyone for coming out to join Michael and me on this hilly East Bay Hills ride! It turned out to be another fantastic day of winter riding. THANKS AGAIN! Without all your support, these rides wouldn’t happen!

27 people in attendance

49 miles with 4227′ elevation gain

Weather: Marvelous! Sunny blue skies with temps ranging from the mid 50’s to the low 60’s. Great riding weather!


Follow this route for today’s ride:

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