Mulholland Ridge-Reliez Valley

Monday, December 29, 2014

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This route heads south along the Lafayette/Morage Regional Trail into the town of Moraga for a climb up Mulholland Hill to the top at Mulholland Ridge Open Space Preserve. The return to Martinez from Lafayette goes through Reliez Valley to Alhambra Valley. The tail end of the ride includes a short steep climb up Muir Rd to Glacier Dr.

The route takes Arnold Dr and crosses over Hwy 4 on Glacier Dr to Center Ave and Vine Hill Way. Morello Ave goes through the residential neighborhoods from Martinez to Pleasant Hill.

I head south on Taylor Blvd; this busy main thoroughfare is a very utilitarian way to get from Pleasant Hill down into Lafayette with great pavement and wide shoulder areas. At Grayson Rd, Taylor Blvd gradually ascends with gentle grades of 3-5% up towards Dinosaur Hill Park before dropping down to the stop light at Withers Ave.

Taylor levels out for the next half mile plus towards the Pleasant Hill Rd interchange and kicks up to 7-10% grades for the 0.7 mile climb up to the traffic light at Rancho View Dr.

The road name changes to Pleasant Hill Rd on the descent into Lafayette to Olympic Blvd. Watch for traffic after Deer Hill Rd towards the Hwy 24 interchange to Mt Diablo Blvd-use caution!

From Olympic Blvd, I hop onto the Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail; this trail parallels St Mary’s Rd for 5.6 easy miles through Lafayette to Moraga Commons Park in Moraga.

Moraga Rd leads to the turn onto Donald Dr; the road sits along the boundary of Orinda and Moraga. Donald Dr goes through a residential neighborhood before turning up towards Mulholland Ridge Open Space Preserve. The initial climb up to the closed gate goes up under a canopy of trees for 0.4 mile with an average grade of 6.4%.

Before reaching the closed gate, get into your lowest gear for the steep climb up to the ridge; it’s 0.4 mile with gradient ranges of 12-17%!

The road levels out for a short section along the ridge; take a moment to look around and enjoy the views!

The Mulholland Ridge Trail gradually kicks back up to steep grades of 9-11% for the 0.4 mile up to the summit of Mulholland Hill at the water tower. Watch for dogs; they’re allowed to run off-leash along the ridge!

Stop at the picnic area and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Moraga Valley and the mountains around Diablo Range-WOW!

I continue along the top of the ridge on Donald Dr and descend Alice Dr to Zander Dr. The rolling terrain on Zander drops down onto Rheem Blvd to Glorietta Blvd.

Glorietta Blvd goes through the residential neighborhoods to Acalanes Rd; this road winds down into the valley onto Mt Diablo Blvd towards downtown Lafayette. The turn onto Happy Valley Rd goes under Hwy 24 to Deer Hill Rd.

Deer Hill Rd is a frontage road that runs parallel to Hwy 24; the road pitches up for a short steep 1/10th of a mile climb to the summit at Lafayette Ridge with 11-13% grades! Enjoy the Mt Diablo and Briones Hills views!

Deer Hill Rd drops down on a very steep grade onto Pleasant Hill Rd; this is a fairly busy road-use caution and watch traffic on the turn to Reliez Valley Rd. The gentle terrain on Reliez Valley Rd goes through the residential neighborhoods along the valley for the first mile.

At the stop sign on La Caminita, the road kicks up for a steep 2/10th of a mile climb with gradient ranges of 10-13%!

The quick descent on Reliez Valley Rd leads down through the valley neighborhoods pass the Queen of Heaven Cemetery and Oakmont Memorial Park off Grayson Rd. Reliez Valley Rd continues on rolling terrain along the edge of the residential subdivisions bordering Pleasant Hill & Martinez to Briones Regional Park. The road ends at the junction with Alhambra Valley Rd.

From Alhambra Valley Rd, I return on Alhambra Ave to Vine Hill Rd, Morello and Center Ave.

Center Ave continues east through the town of Pacheco to Pacheco Blvd; this road heads north along the industrial area to Muir Rd.

Muir Rd is a frontage road that runs parallel to Hwy 4; it climbs 0.7 mile west to the summit at Fountainhead. The road kicks up for a very steep 2/10th of a mile up to the summit with 14-15% grades! The road levels out from the subdivisions to Glacier Dr.

Glacier Dr crosses over Hwy 4 to Arnold Dr.

This is a wonderful hilly scenic ride to one of Contra Costa’s hidden gems-Mulholland Ridge. Give it a try, the views are absolutely phenomenal!

Garmin Stats:
40.11 Miles with 3353′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1164′
Max grade: 17%
Terrain: Hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Overcast morning skies turning to partly cloudy with brilliant afternoon sun. Temps ranged from the low to high 40’s. NE winds with 87% humidity.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Mulholland Ridge Reliez

Follow this route for today’s ride:

One Comment

  1. Hello Nancy, Thank you so much for sharing your journeys. I’ve 22 months until retirement and can hardly wait to get back to northern California for road biking. Please continue posting, best wishes to you and Michael, from Michael and Maydene !

    Michael & Maydene, Thanks for following this blog-it’s greatly appreciated! Time flies-you’ll be back in the Bay Area soon. It’s a pleasure to share these Bay Area rides with everyone.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR! Have a great 2015! Nancy


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