Come on Down!

Five killer, or pussycat, mountain-bike romps.

Del Valle Regional Park:
Swallow Bay and Heron Bay Trails A pleasant set of trails that used to be for hikers and equestrians only. The Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay lobbied to get them changed, and won a network of nearly five miles of trails along the Del Valle reservoir. It’s mostly fire roads, so it’s a mellow option if you don’t feel quite up to tackling the Mount Diablo summit yet. Getting there: Take 580 to North Livermore Ave. Go south through town, then right on Mines Rd., then straight at the junction with Del Valle Rd. Park at the marina.

Contra Costa County: Briones to Mount Diablo Trail
Take a mellow scenic tour of the still-sleepy east part of the East Bay. Leaving Briones, head through Lafayette and Walnut Creek, eventually riding yourself right into the foothills of Mount Diablo. It’s about ten miles one-way, so if you want to go roundtrip, bring a water bottle. If you’re feeling super-ambitious, just keep right on riding into the Wall Point Road at Mount Diablo and then up to the summit. Then go home and tell everyone you’re a badass and that this puny side of the bay has nothing more for you. Getting there: If you start in Briones, take Hwy. 24 to Pleasant Hill Rd. north. Parking on the left is just a ways down at the Lafayette Ridge Staging Area. The trail starts out north on Pleasant Hill Rd., then bounces off to the east in the Alcalanes Ridge Open Space Area.

Joaquin Miller Regional Park: Big Trees Trail and Cinderella Trail
Redwoods, and one of the few East Bay places you’ll get them on a legal bike trail. Although each of the trails in the park is quite short, you can put Big Trees and Cinderella together, with some connectors, to create a satisfying day’s worth of biking in the forest. It’s especially nice now, when the other trails can turn a bit into baking rides through brown grass. Caution: Bikes aren’t allowed on all the park’s trails, so get a map. Getting there: Take Hwy. 13 to Joaquin Miller Road East. Left on Sanborn Dr., and park at the Ranger Station. You can also park along the side of Joaquin Miller Road and bike in.

Briones Regional Park: Briones Crest Trail Loop
The Briones Crest Trail offers some of the best views around — particularly around the Bear Creek area, where on a good day you can see Mount Diablo, Mount Tamalpais, and the Delta. The park is chock-full of trails of all ability levels, so grab a map and go. Getting there: From Hwy. 24, exit Moraga/Orinda to Camino Pablo and go north, then right on Bear Creek Rd. Enter the park and help fill one of the parking lots.

Mount Diablo State Park: Devil’s Elbow
This is the trail you ride when you’re a mountain-biker’s mountain-biker – it’s kind of hardcore. Starting at the Diablo Valley Overlook, follow the Summit Road or Juniper Trail toward the summit, then hop onto the North Peak trail at the Devil’s Elbow. Switch down the very steep side of the mountain to Prospector’s Gap, follow the new trail off to the Meridian Ridge Trail, and follow that to the Deer Flat trail. That climbs you back to the parking lot, where you hopefully aren’t meeting an ambulance. Technical, demanding, difficult – and rewarding. Getting there: I-680 to Diablo Rd. Take Diablo Rd. east for three miles, then left on Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd. (turns into South Gate Rd.). Go through entrance and another three miles to road junction. Go right on Summit Rd. and 2.3 miles to Diablo Valley Overlook. Trailhead at north end of parking area.

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