San Ramon Valley-Norris Canyon-Schaefer Ranch-Palomares

Saturday, December 9, 2017

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This urban semi-rural route heads south through San Ramon Valley for a few challenging out and back climb up Norris Canyon Rd, Schaefer Ranch, and Palomares Rd.

Exit Osage Station Park and Orange Blossom Way and El Capitan Dr to Camino Ramon; this frontage road runs along the west side of I-680 from Danville to Greenbrook Dr.

Crossover I-680 on Greenbrook to San Ramon Valley Blvd and continue southward to Norris Canyon Rd.

Norris Canyon Rd stretches 4.7 miles from San Ramon to Castro Valley; it begins with a flat stretch through the residential neighborhoods west of the valley. The road continues along San Catanio Creek towards the gated community at Norris Canyon Estates.

The road kicks up for a steep half-mile climb with gradient ranges of 9-14% grades to the summit top ranches.

You cross into Alameda County as you roll past the ranches for the sweeping descent along Norris Creek to Crow Canyon Rd in Castro Valley.

Turn around on Norris Canyon Rd for the reverse climb back up to the county line. The road begins with a gentle ascent for the first mile along Norris Creek.

At mile marker 1.18, the road kicks up to a steady climb for the next 0.8 mile with an average grade of 8% along with steeper pitches of 10-11%!

You’re near the summit when you see the hilltop ranch at the Alameda/Contra Costa county line.

The road descends swiftly through the canyon along San Catanio Creek and rolls back through the residential neighborhoods to San Ramon Valley Blvd.

Continue south on San Ramon Valley Rd, the flat-rolling miles goes through San Ramon and Dublin. At Alcosta Blvd, the road name changes to San Ramon Rd as it crosses into Alameda County to Dublin Blvd.

Dublin Blvd to the summit at Dublin Hills Regional Park is 2.3 miles; the road begins on gentle terrain before kicking up to grades of 6-9% for half a mile starting from Silvergate Dr. The road levels out for a short  3/10ths of a mile up around the bend to Roys Hill Ln.

The road continues to climb for another mile with an average grade of 5.5% and steeper pitches of 9-11%.

Dublin Hills Regional Park Donlon Point Staging Area at Schaefer Ranch, an upscale luxury development located along the ridgeline with gorgeous views of the rolling hills and open space around Dublin Hills.

Continue on Dublin Blvd for the steep drop on Schaefer Ranch Rd to Dublin Canyon Rd. Turn right and head west through Dublin Canyon to Palo Verde Rd and Palomares Rd.

Palomares Rd stretches 5.1 miles from Palo Verde Rd to the summit. The gentle rolling terrain for the first couple of miles on this beautiful quiet back road takes you through the many horse ranches and wooded canyon along Palomares Creek.

The rolling terrain leads up to the narrow bridge crossings.

You’ll come upon the steeper sustained climb up to the summit after the second creek crossing; it begins at mile marker 4.05 with grades of 7-8% and steadily increases to grades of 9-12% as you reach mile marker 4.74. It maxes out at 13% as you approach the turn at the yellow right arrow sign.

Turn around at the summit and descend Palomares Rd.

The right turn on Palo Verde Rd leads you to Dublin Canyon Rd; it’s a frontage road that parallels I-580 with a gentle climb along the canyon with grades of 3-5% with minimal traffic. This remote area has a couple of ranches and a Lockaway Storage facility.

The turn-on Schaefer Ranch Rd takes you under I-580 for the short steep 12-14% climb up to Schaefer Ranch.

Descend Dublin Blvd to Silvergate Dr.

Head north on Silvergate, it rolls through the residential neighborhood around Martin Canyon to Peppertree Rd and W Vomac.

Continue north through the neighborhoods on Southwick Dr to Westside Dr. The road travels along the lower ridge with views of the surrounding open space and Mt Diablo!

Return north along San Ramon Valley Rd and cross I-680 on Greenbrook Dr to Camino Ramon and Osage Station Park.

Garmin Stats:
47.5 Miles with 3648′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 887′
Max grade: 14%
Terrain: Hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and cool. Temps ranging from the mid 40’s to the low 60’s with NE winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:


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