Thursday, February 22, 2018
This hike explores the northern section of Briones Regional Park with a counter-clockwise loop from Pine Tree Trailhead off Alhambra Valley Rd in Martinez up through Toyon Canyon and Briones Crest Trail to Briones Peak at 1483 feet. Return north on Old Briones Rd Trail to Pine Tree Trail.
Begin from the Park Office off Alhambra Valley Rd in Martinez. Cross the creek towards Orchard Trail and follow the paved road through the park maintenance yard to trail post #29-Pine Tree Tr.
Pine Tree Tr turns westward with a climb to the stock pond and upper grassland area.
At trail post #28-Orchard Trail junction, go right to stay on Pine Tree Trail. It continues uphill through the scattered pines to the next trail split at trail post #27-Toyon Canyon Trail.
Go right onto Toyon Canyon, it heads southward through the beautiful woodland with the occasional view of the surrounding valley.
The trail winds up through the canyon around the hillside under the gorgeous canopy of oak/bay woodlands.
The moderate climbs lead to the upper meadows to trail post #43-Lagoon Trail junction.
Turn left onto Lagoon Trail, it continues southward across the open grassland and rock outcroppings towards the stock pond.
The trail kicks up with a moderate climb through the woodland to the upper grassland area.
Lagoon Trail cuts across the open ridge to the next junction at Sindicich Lagoon.
Enjoy the glorious views of Mt Diablo, Suisun Bay, and our lovely backyard refineries!
At trail post #38-turn left onto Briones Crest Trail, it goes around the ridge with wonderful panoramic views of the rolling hills and beyond.
At the trail split, go far right and take the single track to trail post #22-Old Briones Rd.
Go right to stay on Briones Crest Trail, it turns eastward as it climbs uphill.
Enjoy the stunning panoramic views!
Briones Crest Trail continues up around the hillside to the upper meadows.
At the faint trail split, follow the single narrow track along the wired fenceline to the vista overlook at Briones Peak.
Arrive at Briones Peak at 1483 feet.
Turn around and make your way back to Briones Crest Trail and retrace the steps back down to trail post #22-Old Briones Rd.
Turn right onto Old Briones Rd, it heads north across the open grassland to trail post #23.
Go straight to stay on Old Briones Rd, it continues across the green meadows to trail post #24.
Turn left to stay on Old Briones Rd to the cattle gate, the fire road winds downhill with views of the surrounding canyons and ridges.
Old Briones Rd continues north to the parking lot at the end of Briones Rd.
Go straight along the fence line to trail post #25-Pine Tree Trail, it parallels Briones Rd for a section to the transmission tower.
The trail cuts through the scattered oaks as it continues across the grassland to trail post #26-Pine Tree Trail.
Go straight to stay on Pine Tree Trail, it continues across the grassland before dropping downhill to trail post #27.
Go straight to stay on Pine Tree Trail to trail post #28.
Enter through the cattle gate to stay on Pine Tree Trail, it cuts back through the woodland to the park maintenance yard.
Follow the paved road back to the bridge for the return to the parking lot.
This is a wonderful hike around the northern section of Briones Park,. You’ll enjoy the gorgeous shaded woodland through Toyon Canyon and the panoramic vistas along the ridge up to Briones Peak! Spring is almost here, the rolling hills are turning green!
6.16 Miles with 1378′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1484′
Time: 3 hours with one stop
Parking: No fee at Pine Tree Trailhead at the Park Office off Alhambra Valley Rd in Martinez
No facilities, plan accordingly
Weather: Partly cloudy with partial sun. Cool temps ranging from the high 40’s to the mid 50’s with brisk SW winds.
Directions: Pine Tree Trailhead > S-Orchard Tr > R-park maintenance area to Pine Tree Tr > R-Toyon Canyon Tr > L-Lagoon Tr > L-Briones Crest Tr > R Old Briones Rd Tr > L-Briones Crest Tr > L-single track to Briones Peak > U-Briones Peak > R-Briones Crest Tr > R-Old Briones Rd Tr > S-along parking lot to Pine Tree Tr > R-stay on Pine Tree Tr > L-thru gate to stay on Pine Tree Tr > S-thru park maintenance yard to Orchard Tr > L-onto paved Orchard Tr > parking lot