East Bay Hills: Wildcat-South Park-Skyline-Pinehurst-Grizzly Peak-Bear Creek-Pig Farm

Thursday, March 5, 2015

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This route cycles around some of the great roads around the East Bay Hills! Climb, climb, climb and climb some more! Up Wildcat Canyon to S Park and Grizzly Peak Blvd. Roll along the open ridge to Skyline and descend Redwood Rd for the climb up Pinehurst Rd. Return on Skyline and climb up and descend Grizzly Peak to Golf Course Rd. Descend Wildcat and climb Pumphouse Grade to Mama Bear and Pig Farm Hill.

Take Arnold Dr and cross 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.

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 Deer Hill Rd.

Deer Hill Rd is a very steep climb up to summit at Lafayette Ridge; it’s 0.2 mile with gradient ranges of 14-16%! Enjoy the magnificent views of Mt Diablo and the Lamorinda hills along the Diablo Range!

Deer Hill Rd runs parallel to Hwy 24 and drops down on rolling terrain towards the Lafayette BART station and the Cross Memorial to Happy Valley Rd and Mt Diablo Blvd.

Continue west on Mt Diablo Blvd towards Lafayette Reservoir to Acalanes Rd and Hidden Valley Rd.

Hidden Valley parallels Hwy 24 and climbs up through the neighborhoods from Lafayette into Orinda; the road tops out at the St Stephens Dr overpass to the St Stephens Trail.

The St Stephens Trail continues to parallel Hwy 24 and exits onto Bryant Way to Moraga Way in Orinda. Exit Orinda on Camino Pablo and head NW to Wildcat Canyon Rd.

Wildcat Canyon Rd winds up 2.4 miles under the beautiful canopy of trees to San Pablo Ridge. The first mile towards El Toyonal Rd has grades of 7-9%.

The road eases down to grades of 4-5% up to Inspiration Point.

Wildcat Canyon Rd continues on a flat-rolling descent through the groves of eucalyptus trees around Tilden Park to South Park Dr.

South Park Dr gains over 700′ in 1.5 miles up to Grizzly Peak Blvd; it’s a steep stair-step climb! The road is currently closed for the annual newt mating season.

The first section begins with grades of 6-8%, at Big Springs the road tilts up a bit more with grades of 10-14%. It eases up for a short stretch around Laurel and jumps back up again to 11-13% grades around Owl.

The road continues with steeper grades of 13-16% all the way up to the gate at Grizzly Peak.

Turn left and descend Grizzly Peak Blvd along Frowning Ridge to the bottom at Claremont Ave/Fish Ranch Rd.

I pulled over at one of the vista points to check out the memorial chotskies and scenic views.


Grizzly Peak Blvd continues up along the ridge with gorgeous views of the Bay Area and the scenic hills surrounding Sibley Park.

Turn left and head south on Skyline Blvd for the next 5.2 miles; the rolling terrain takes us along the residential neighborhoods to the redwoods surrounding Redwood Regional Park, Joaquin Miller Park and Roberts Recreation Area.

Descend Skyline Blvd and continue SE along the ridge to Redwood Rd.

The descent on Redwood Rd heading east to Pinehurst Rd is a fun 2.5 smooth miles through the towering redwoods with minimal traffic and great sight lines. This is one of my favorite downhills-for me, no braking is required!

The climb up south Pinehurst Rd to Pinehurst Gate is 1.3 miles with an average grade of 4.7% and one steep pitch of 8-9% as you near the top. The descent on Pinehurst down to Canyon Rd is on a narrow twisty two lane road with many blind turns-proceed with caution!

Pinehurst Rd continues north on gentle rolling terrain for the first 2.7 miles on an old railroad grade under the shade of the gorgeous redwood forest. It follows the curves of San Leandro Creek to the small community of Canyon.

It continues in and out of the woodlands to the hairpin turn at the gated trail head to Huckleberry Regional Preserve.

At the switchback, the road tilts up through the canyon for the next 0.8 miles with an average grade of 4.7%.

At the next hairpin turn, Pinehurst continues to climb 0.5 mile with steep 9-12% grades up to the top at Skyline Blvd.

The next 1.5 miles north on Skyline Blvd goes through an Oakland residential neighborhood; some previous rough and bad sections of Skyline has recently been patched over-it’s much smoother! At Huckleberry, the road climbs for a short 0.3 mile up to Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve.

South Grizzly Peak Blvd begins with 2 miles of scenic rolling terrain along the ridge top of the Berkeley Hills. The road winds around the ridge and quickly descends to the intersection at Claremont Ave/Fish Ranch Rd.

Enjoy the stunning SF Bay views!

The climb up south Grizzly Peak Blvd to the summit is 1.5 miles with an average grade of 4.5%. The road levels out for a short section to S Park Dr and kicks up for a short climb up to Frowning Ridge. Look to the west and enjoy the spectacular ridge top views!

The descent on Grizzly Peak Blvd to the stop sign at Centennial and Golf Course Rd is fairly technical with many tight turns. With the smooth new road surface, it’s very easy to catch yourself going much faster than necessary-use caution! The descent on Golf Course Rd takes you into Tilden Park; the rolling climbs lead to the descent on Shasta Rd to Wildcat Canyon.

Wildcat Canyon continues on rolling terrain to Inspiration Point followed by a twisty descent down to Camino Pablo.

Cross Camino Pablo and continue on Bear Creek Rd for the climb up Pumphouse Grade; it’s 2.4 miles with gradient ranges of 6-8% and gorgeous views of Briones Reservoir.

The road drops down from Papa Bear into Briones Valley for a series of small climbs and descents over the backside of Mama Bear. It’s 1.5 miles with gradient ranges of 5-9% up to the Lawson Hill summit.

The sling shot descent on Bear Creek Rd takes you through a horse ranching community and the Gan Shalom Jewish Cemetery to Alhambra Valley Rd.

Alhambra Valley Rd at Bear Creek Rd begins with a gentle climb up along the vineyard to the olive grove and animal farm. The road continues through the valley and ranch lands of JBL ranch to the base of the Pig Farm Hill.

The climb up west Pig Farm Hill begins at the gate of JBL Ranch; it’s a steep half mile climb with grades of 13-15%!

Alhambra Valley Rd descends through Vaca Canyon to the valley out to junction at Reliez Valley Rd.

Take Alhambra Ave back to Vine Hill Way; it’s a short 0.2 mile climb with an average grade of 7.4%.

Return on Center and Glacier to Arnold Dr and Fig Tree Ln.

Get your climbing legs ready! This route hits some of the classic East Bay Hills around our local regional parks; Briones, Tilden and Redwood! This variation is only one of many-follow this ride or mix it up any way you like! You’ll enjoy the ridge top vistas of the SF/Bay Area!

Garmin Stats
72.02 Miles with 6906′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1655′
Max grade: 17%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with steep climbs

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

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

East Bay Hills

Follow this route for today’s ride:


One Comment

  1. Hi Mike and Nancy,

    Diane and I are now living at Ashland, Oregon, 97520, cell is the same.

    Bill, That’s wonderful! It’s time for us to take road trip. Enjoy retirement! Nancy


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