Alhambra Valley-Bear Creek-Pinole Valley-Carquinez Scenic

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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This clock-wise loop goes along Alhambra Valley Rd for a climb up east Pig Farm Hill to Bear Creek Rd. It continues along the Bears to San Pablo Dam Rd. Roll through Pinole Valley into El Sobrante and Pinole before heading north on San Pablo Ave to Hercules and Rodeo. Drop into the town of Crockett for the scenic jaunt along the Carquinez Shoreline on Carquinez Scenic Dr.

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.

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.

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.

Castro Ranch climbs up through the Carriage Hills neighborhood to the summit at Sobrante Ridge.

The straight shot descent from Castro Ranch Rd opens up to spectacular views of Alhambra Valley!


Turn left onto Pinole Valley Rd takes you through Pinole‘s residential neighborhood and shopping centers towards San Pablo Ave.

Continue on San Pablo Ave out to Hercules and onto Parker Ave into Rodeo. This section of the route has lots of traffic going in and out of the shopping centers and certainly around the I-80 freeway interchanges-use caution!

San Pablo Ave continues north with climbs up past the refineries and Cummings Skyway.

At the high point, the road drops down towards Crockett.

Brief stop at the Carquinez Vista Point on San Pablo Ave; it has fabulous views of the twin spans of the Carquinez-Zampa Bridge, Carquinez Strait and San Pablo Bay!

The road name changes to Pomona St as it drops through the town of Crockett followed by a climb; it’s a 0.4 mile with an average grade of 5%. It goes up through the residential neighborhoods to the Veterans War Memorial.

The road continues straight and becomes Carquinez Scenic Dr; this road winds above the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline with gorgeous views of Benicia and the waters along Carquinez Strait. It gently climbs up to the high point of Bush Hill at Carquinez Strait Bull Valley Staging Area.

Carquinez Scenic Dr continues east on gentle ascending terrain to the next high point at the new trail gate. The road descends around the Franklin Hills to Little Bull Valley.

The new George Miller 1.7 mile trail segment begins at the Little Bull Valley trail gate; the twist and turns take you along the shoreline with spectacular views of Carquinez Strait! The road narrows at some sections with several blind curves and rolls through the oak woodlands to the trail gate in Martinez.

Enjoy the views!

Carquinez Scenic Dr continues on rolling terrain through the shaded woodlands before dropping down to the lower trail gate at John Nejedley Staging Area. There is a short 6-7% climb from the lower gate up towards the Alhambra & Catholic Cemeteries. The road descends onto Talbert St in Martinez.

Turn left on Escobar St for the short trek through Old Downtown. Head SE on Court St to Pine St and Pacheco Blvd.

Return on Morello Ave and Fig Tree back to Holiday Highlands Park.

This semi-urban loop climbs and climbs before tapering off with a scenic roll along Carquinez Scenic Dr with fabulous views of Carquinez Strait!

Garmin Stats:
47.86 Miles with 3985′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 826′
Max grade: 11%
Terrain: Hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Partly cloudy with afternoon sun. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to the low 70’s with SW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Pig Bears

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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