EB Hills: Pumphouse Grade-Happy Valley-Pinehurst-Grizzly Peak-Wildcat Canyon

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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This ride goes for a clockwise loop around some of the East Bay Hills from Island Picnic Area at Tilden Park on Wildcat Canyon to Pumphouse Grade on Bear Creek Rd. The route continues SE on Happy Valley Rd into Lafayette followed by a flat roll along the Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail to the town of Moraga. Return to Berkeley via Pinehurst Rd, Grizzly Peak Blvd, and Wildcat Canyon Rd.

Head east on Wildcat Canyon Rd, the rolling terrain leads you out to Inspiration Point before winding down the hill to Camino Pablo/San Pablo Dam Rd.

Continue straight onto Bear Creek Rd, it drops down on Baby Bear to the bridge crossing over San Pablo Creek. The climb on the backside of Papa Bear aka “Pumphouse Grade” begins near Bear Creek Trail; it’s 0.7 mile with 7-9% grades up to the Briones Overlook Staging Area.

The road continues to wind up around Black Hills with gradient ranges of 6-8% and views of Briones Reservoir. Bear Creek Rd drops down towards Happy Valley Rd at Briones Valley.

Happy Valley Rd is a utilitarian back road with access into Lafayette and Orinda. This quiet narrow single lane road begins with a gentle half mile climb under the shaded woodlands.

At the hairpin turn, the road kicks up dramatically for the next 0.6 mile with steep 10-13% grades; it winds up through the canyon to the summit at the steel guardrail near Orinda View Rd.

Happy Valley Rd descends into Lafayette towards Mt Diablo Blvd.

Turn left onto Deer Hill Rd and head south on 1st St to Golden Gate Way. Meander through the residential neighborhoods along Moraga Blvd and Foye Rd.

Turn right onto the Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail; this trail parallels St Mary’s Rd for 5.6 easy miles through Lafayette to Moraga Commons Park in Moraga. Check out the mini waterfall, it’s simply beautiful!

Exit the park onto St Mary’s Rd head south on Moraga Rd to Bianca’s Deli at Moraga Center.

Continue south on Moraga Rd to Canyon Rd, it leads to the bridge crossing over Moraga Creek. The road begins to climb up pass the EBMUD Valle Vista Staging Area with grades of 4-6% and winds down into the canyon to Pinehurst Rd.

South Pinehurst Rd begins 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 through the small community of Canyon. It’s great to see and hear the creek flowing through the canyon!


It continues in and out of the canopy of trees 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%. Watch for the mini waterfalls!

The next hairpin turn comes at mile 23.9 at the orange 10 mph sign; this is the steepest section of Pinehurst-it’s a 0.5 mile climb with 9-12% grades to the top at Skyline Blvd.

The rolling terrain on Skyline Blvd leads up to Sibley Park.

South Grizzly Peak Blvd begins with 2 miles of scenic rolling terrain along the ridge top of the Berkeley Hills.

Enjoy the stunning SF Bay views.

The road winds around the ridge and quickly descends to the intersection at Claremont Ave/Fish Ranch Rd.

South Grizzly Peak Blvd tilts up and climbs out of the canyon with an average grade of 5.7% to the Steam Trains at Tilden Park.

Enjoy the spectacular bay views!


The road levels out for a short section to S Park Dr and kicks up for a short climb up to the summit of Frowning Ridge. The descent on Grizzly Peak Blvd to the stop sign at Centennial and Golf Course Rd is fairly technical with many tight turns. It’s very easy to catch yourself going much faster than necessary-use caution! The road continues descending through the residential neighborhoods around the Berkeley Hills to Wildcat Canyon.

Wildcat Canyon Rd travels for 1.9 scenic miles along the west perimeter of Tilden Park back to Island Picnic Area.

Ride around the East Bay Hills and enjoy the wonderful system of beautiful public parks, preserves, watersheds, and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties! You’ll love the quiet calm rolling through the gorgeous redwoods and the spectacular SF bay views from the top of Grizzly Peak Blvd!

Garmin Stats:
35.20 Miles with 3383′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1685′
Max grade: 14%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Partly sunny with cool. Temps ranged from the low to high 40’s with SW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:

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