Briones Loop: Alhambra Valley-Bear Creek-Happy Valley-Reliez Valley

Sunday, February 22, 2015

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This route goes along Alhambra Valley Rd for a climb up east Pig Farm Hill. Continue on Bear Creek Rd for the climbs up Mama Bear to Happy Valley. The steep climb on Happy Valley Rd is followed by a descent into Lafayette. Head east up Deer Hill Rd and return north through Reliez Valley Rd to Martinez.

Heads out of Martinez on Arnold to Glacier and Vine Hill to Alhambra Ave.

The flat-rolling terrain on Alhambra Valley Rd leads to the junction at Reliez Valley Rd.

Alhambra Valley Rd continues west on flat terrain through a small residential community with front yard vineyards, orchards, and acreage homes.

After passing Deer Creek Dr, the two lane road narrows as it continues through the wooded canyon for the next couple of miles; the rolling climbs leads up to the base of east Pig Farm Hill.

The climb up east Pig Farm Hill begins at the orange left turn sign; the half mile stretch up to the summit has gradient ranges of 7-8% followed by a fast descent into the valley.

The first 1.6 miles on Bear Creek Rd goes through the “horse country” around Briones with a concentration of horse ranches, farms, training facilities and stables.

The half mile climb up Mama Bear has gradient ranges of 7-8%; you can catch a glimpse of Briones Reservoir as you roll over the top of Lawson Hill.

Mama Bear continues ascending over a few more humps before descending into Briones Valley to Happy Valley Rd.

Happy Valley Rd is a utilitarian back road with access into Lafayette and Orinda. This quiet narrow single lane road begins with a gentle half mile climb under the shaded woodlands.

At the hairpin turn, the road kicks up dramatically for the next 0.6 mile with steep 10-13% grades; it winds up through the canyon to the summit at the steel guardrail. Happy Valley Rd descends into Lafayette towards Mt Diablo Blvd.

Turn left onto Deer Hill Rd; this 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, return on Alhambra Ave to Vine Hill Way, Morello and Center Ave.

This is a fabulous hilly ride that goes along the canyon and valleys around Briones Hills at Briones Regional Park. It’s minimal miles with maximum climbing!

Garmin Stats
30.13 Miles with 2966′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 903′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Plenty of sunshine and blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the mid 60’s with brisk NE winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Bear Creek Happy Valley

Follow this route for today’s ride:



  1. Nancy, if you didn’t see them, look for the squirrel, bird, and birdhouse statuary (probably there’s a better word) on the back of some of the signs on the Lafayette side of Happy Valley.


    Tony, Thanks for the heads up-I’ll have to keep a watch out for them next time I’m on that road. Nancy


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