Morgan Territory Regional Preserve

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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This loop out to Morgan Territory Rd is another one of GPC‘s favorite autumn rides. It starts at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek and continues along the Canal Trail out to Concord.

The short 1.4 mile stretch on busy Treat Blvd brings us to the turn on Turtle Creek Rd. We wind our way through the less traveled streets of the quiet residential areas and admire the gorgeous vibrant fall colors of the trees in the neighborhoods.

We continue on Pine Hollow Rd and pass the PG&E Substation into the town of Clayton. Clayton was voted as one of the top 100 places to live in America 2011-their backyard is the great Mt Diablo State Park!

There is a regroup at the Downtown Park off Main St. Water and restrooms are available here. Food and drinks can be purchased at the Village Market which is adjacent to the park.

The run on Marsh Creek Rd takes you through the residential neighborhoods with fantastic views of Mt Diablo and the surrounding golden rolling hills.

The climbing begins once you pass Rodie’s Feed & Country Store. It’s a series of three hills along a two lane road with no shoulder area. Ride with caution! The gradient ranges from 7-10%; you’re near the top when you see the sign for the Divide Reservoir. From there, it’s a fast sweeping descent to Morgan Territory Rd.

Morgan Territory Rd runs 14.7 miles, north to south between Marsh Creek Rd in Clayton to Manning Rd in Livermore. The Morgan Territory Regional Preserve staging area is 9.4 miles from Marsh Creek Rd.


There are quite a few horse ranches, old barns and residential homes tucked away on this beautiful quiet stretch of road. The two lane road eventually becomes a single narrow lane road through former ranching land in the foothills of Mt Diablo. The majority of the climbing is done under a canopy of trees along the creek with three narrow bridge crossings.

The climbing starts off quite gentle as you make your way through the ranches and increases to gradient ranges of 5-8% as you continue on up. The last few miles up to the staging area have steeper sections of 9-15% at several switchbacks.

The lunch stop is at the Morgan Territory Preserve. Water and restrooms are available along with plenty of picnic tables. The free entertainment of the day was watching the park service employees unload a huge plastic water tank off the pick-up truck-it was pretty impressive!

Post lunch-there is one short climb up to the actual summit of this road, and then it’s really all downhill! The descent down to Livermore can be very fast-proceed with caution as there are many blind turns on this narrow single lane road.

This hilltop descent has sweeping views of the valley below and beyond-it’s spectacular! The rolling hills seem to blend into one another and just keep going for as far as the eye can see. One of the joys of being on a tandem is the ability to look around; even while descending!

We continue on through the rolling bucolic country back roads of Livermore on Manning and Highland Rds; the surrounding hillsides are dotted with grazing cattle, old barns and horse ranches-it’s gorgeous out here!

The remaining 20 flat miles back to Heather Farm is through the city streets of San Ramon, Danville, Alamo and Walnut Creek.

Thanks to Phil for leading this fabulous ride!

~35+ people in attendance with 3 tandems

VDO Stats:
Original route: 52.37 miles with 2989′ elevation gain
Extended route from Martinez: 69.75 miles with 3623′ elevation gain
Avg Grade: 3%
Max Grade: 15%

Weather: FANTASTIC! Morning clouds giving way to brilliant afternoon sun. Temps ranged from the low to mid 60’s

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
~John Burroughs

Click here to view the route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

One Comment

  1. Such a great ride report . . A big difference from where i live This is what i had to deal with today

    James, Looks like you’re out on some Expressway! Unfortunately, sometimes we all have to ride on those kinds of roads to get from point A to point B. And rude drivers can be found anywhere, even on a quiet country road! One thing positive-you’re riding in sunny weather! Enjoy the holidays! Nancy


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