Wednesday, May 6, 2015
This ride goes for a clockwise loop around the foothills of Mt Diablo from Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek to Marsh Creek Rd in Clayton. Climb up remote Morgan Territory Rd through the ranch lands and meadows to the beautiful shaded woodlands around Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. Drop down into Livermore Valley for the scenic country jaunt along Manning to Highland and Camino Tassajara. Take the flats along Sycamore Valley and Danville Blvd into Walnut Creek and continue on the Iron Horse and Canal Trails back to Heather Farm Park.
Exit Heather Farm Park and head east on the Canal Trail for the first few miles to Treat Blvd in Concord.
Treat Blvd is one of the major thoroughfares from Walnut Creek into Concord; it has a wide shoulder area with views of the golden hills around Lime Ridge.
Meander around the quiet Turtle Creek residential neighborhoods to Pine Hollow Rd in Clayton.
Main St runs through the Old Downtown area of Clayton with The Grove anchoring a corner of this small community.
Head south on Marsh Creek Rd through Clayton’s neighborhoods, schools and parks to the outskirts of town.
Clayton is located around the foothills of Mt Diablo with grand views of the mountain-WOW! The road exits through town pass the ranches and farms towards Rodie’s Feed.
Watch for the whimsical wood stump carvings!
Marsh Creek Rd has three small climbs leading up to the summit at Divide Reservoir; it’s 0.9 mile with gradient ranges of 7-10%. CAUTION-watch traffic! The sweeping descent on Marsh Creek Rd leads to the right turn onto Morgan Territory Rd.
Morgan Territory Rd stretches 14.7 miles from Marsh Creek Rd to the south end at Manning Rd in Livermore. The climb up to the Regional Preserve from Marsh Creek is 9.2 miles. The road begins on flat terrain with superb views of Mt Diablo!
The lower section of Morgan Territory goes through “horse country” with multiple estate horse ranches and training facilities.
The road continues on gentle terrain around the foothills of Diablo through the farms and ranches to the open meadows and drops down to the cattle ranch with the wooden red barn.
Enjoy the wildflowers!
From this point, the road changes from a two lane road to a single narrow lane. It winds its way through the canyon with several narrow bridge creek crossings. The road gradually tilts up with grades of 5-8%.
At the “Entering Morgan Territory Regional Preserve” sign, the climbing continues under the gorgeous shaded woodlands with dappled sunlight.
The road snakes in and out of the shade with views of the dense woods surrounding Black Hills. The last couple of miles on the upper section of Morgan Territory leading to the summit of Black Hills have numerous switchbacks with steep 9-15% grades!
As you near the top, the road drops down for a short bit followed by a steep climb out of the woods to the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve.
Lunch at the Regional Preserve.
Morgan Territory Rd continues for another 0.4 mile to the actual summit with grades of 4.5-6%.
This descent can get very fast-proceed with caution as there are many blind turns on this narrow single lane road! The views dropping down into Livermore are phenomenal!
The road straightens out for the right onto Manning Rd; the flat terrain along the valley leads to Highland Rd.
Continue west on Highland Rd; it’s a quiet back road with minimal traffic on gentle rolling terrain through the open space with rolling soft golden hills and a few wooden barns.
Highland Rd leads to the intersection at Carneal Rd with wonderful views of the freshly plowed hay fields and the open pastoral lands surrounding the horse ranches.
The road continues on for the next three miles through the back country with horse ranches, equine training arenas and hillsides dotted with grazing cattle, horses and old wooden barns.
Head north on Camino Tassajara; this road has a fair amount of traffic-use caution!
Camino Tassajara rounds the bend and enters the suburbs through the residential neighborhoods surrounding Blackhawk. Stay on Camino Tassajara to Sycamore Valley Rd and jog around the city streets into Danville.
The flats on Danville Blvd leads back to Walnut Creek to S Broadway.
Hop onto the Iron Horse trail off Newell and connect with the Canal Trail back to Heather Farm Park.
This is a gorgeous ride around the foothills of Mt Diablo from Clayton to Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. You’ll enjoy the quiet remote country roads with minimal to no traffic! Look for the Mt Diablo Globe Tulips-they’re endemic to Mt Diablo!
52.17 Miles with 2989′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2046′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Moderately hilly with steep climbs
Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the low 80’s with brisk SW winds.
Follow this route for today’s ride: