Tuesday, February 16, 2016
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This classic route goes around “The Bears” on Bear Creek Rd to San Pablo Dam Rd, Castro Ranch and Alhambra Valley Rd. The ride includes the climb up the east & west side of Pig Fam Hill.
Exit Holiday Highlands Park to Arnold, Glacier and Vine Hill Way to Alhambra Ave.
Head south on Alhambra Valley Rd 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.
Turn onto Bear Creek Rd for the roll through the country horse ranches towards 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 descent 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.
Head NW on San Pablo Dam Rd; this road runs along the west side of San Pablo Reservoir to the main entrance followed by a fast descent into El Sobrante.
The turn up Castro Ranch Rd goes through the residential areas of Carriage Hills.
Descend Castro Ranch Rd to Alhambra Valley Rd.
Head east on Alhambra Valley Rd for the next 7.6 miles; this area has minimal traffic with gorgeous views of the rolling hillsides, open grasslands and grazing cattle.
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 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 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.
Hit the road for a ride around west Contra Costa’s quiet country back roads from Alhambra Valley to Bear Creek Rd! This loop offers plenty of hills with minimal traffic and scenic landscape around Briones and San Pablo Reservoirs!
38 Miles with 3163′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 881′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: extremely hilly with a steep climb
Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the high 60’s with brisk NW winds.
View the interactive RGPS route map & profile
Follow this route for today’s ride:
Nancy, What’s the grade up Castro Ranch Rd from SPDR? jim
FANTASTIC !! From Michael and Maydene !
Jim, Castro Ranch up towards Carriage Hills is about 8-9% grades.
Michael, Thanks! Definitely looks like spring is in the air!