Friday, October 2, 2015
This route heads out along Alhambra Ave and Reliez Valley for an out & back ride through Vaca Canyon on Alhambra Valley Rd to Pig Farm Hill. Continue on Bear Creek Rd for a ride up along Briones Reservoir. Climb Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear to the junction at Camino Pablo/San Pablo Dam Rd.
Exit Holiday Highlands Park to Arnold, Glacier and Vine Hill Way to Alhambra Ave.
Head south on Alhambra Ave towards Pleasant Hill.
Turn right onto Taylor Blvd and head south to Grayson Rd. At Grayson Rd, turn right and head west towards Oakmont Memorial Park on Reliez Valley Rd.
Continue north on Reliez Valley Rd; the rolling terrain takes you along the outskirts of the community homes around Grayson Woods to Blue Ridge.
The road continues through the valley ranches and equine facilities near Briones Park before coming to an end at the junction with Alhambra 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. There is currently a 6 minute timed light for road work along this stretch of Alhambra Valley-be patient.
Turn onto Bear Creek Rd through the country horse ranches to the climb up Mama Bear.
Mama Bear is 0.7 mile with a steady 7% grade followed by two small humps before the drop down towards Briones Park.
Papa Bear is 0.7 miles with a steady grade of 7% followed by a short hump before the fast sweeping downhill on Pumphouse Grade.
Baby Bear is a short steep climb of 9-11% grades up to the traffic light at the top of Bear Creek Rd.
Bear Creek Rd stretches 8.4 miles around Briones Reservoir from Orinda to the opposite end at Briones. The road drops down Baby Bear to the bridge crossing over San Pablo Creek. The climb up the backside of Papa Bear aka “Pumphouse Hill” begins near Bear Creek Trail; it’s 0.7 mile with 7-9% grades up to the Briones Staging Area.
The road continues to wind up around Black Hills with gradient ranges of 6-8% followed by a short descent and a 0.3 mile 5-7% climb up to the summit of Papa Bear.
The sling shot descent takes you down along the flats through Briones Valley.
Bear Creek Rd kicks up for the series of small climbs and descents over the backside of Mama Bear along Briones Hills. It’s 1.5 miles with gradient ranges of 5-9% to the summit. Mama Bear descends Lawson Hill through a horse ranching community and the Gan Shalom Cemetery to Alhambra Valley Rd.
Alhambra Valley Rd east 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 JMB ranch to the base of the Pig Farm Hill.
The climb up west Pig Farm Hill begins around the bend at JBL Ranch; it’s a steep half mile climb with grades of 13-15%!
Alhambra Valley Rd descends 3.5 miles through the canyon to the valley out to junction at Reliez Valley Rd. Turn left to stay on Alhambra Valley Rd to Alhambra Ave.
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.
This out & back route is yet another variation of a ride along the less-traveled Alhambra Valley and Bear Creek Rd for the classic climbs up Pig Farm Hill and “The Bears”. It gets you out of traffic and along the quiet back roads around Briones Park and Briones Reservoir-you’ll hit both sides of Pig Farm and the whole family of bears-that’s plenty of hills!
40 Miles with 4009′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 920′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with a steep climb
Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the mid 80’s with SW winds.
Follow this route for today’s ride: