Added by Megan MacKenzie
This classic East Bay ride offers steep climbs, speedy downhills, and what some say is the best panoramic view of San Francisco and the Bay in the whole area.
This 25-mile loop starts at the Valle Vista Staging Area in Moraga, CA.
Take a left out of the parking lot onto Canyon Rd.
At 0.65 mi, turn right onto Pinehurst Rd. This road will take you through Canyon's redwood tree forest and the beginning of a 4-mile cat-3 climb. At around 3.3 mi you will begin the steepest part of the climb, 1.3 miles of switchbacks.
At 4.6 mi, you'll reach the top of Pinehurst. Turn right onto Skyline Blvd. (Don't take the sharpest right turn: that's Manzanita Rd, not where you want to go! Skyline is the road at about 2-o'clock.) Even though this feels like you're at the top of the hills, you'll continue going up.
***At about 6 mi, you will pass Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. There's a little house here with bathrooms and a water fountain.
Continue right on Grizzly Peak Blvd at 6.2 mi. At 6.5 mi you'll finally get some downhill- the views along here are beautiful! You'll get panoramic views of San Francisco and the entire bay if it is clear.
7.8 mi marks the beginning of another climb, this time a 2-mile-long cat-5.
Turn right onto S Park Dr. at 10.10 mi. Congrats, you've earned a great downhill ride! Keep in mind that it's very easy for cyclists to exceed the speed limit along here, so you might need to keep a little pressure on the brakes, especially if there is traffic.
At 11.5 mi, turn right onto Wildcat Canyon Rd. You've got one short uphill climb... then you'll enjoy some steep descents. Make sure you stay to the left on Wildcat Canyon when El Toyonal branches off to the right.
At 15.3 mi, you'll reach the bottom of the Wildcat Canyon descent. Turn right onto Camino Pablo. Follow Camino Pablo into downtown Orinda, where it turns into Moraga Way. Keep going straight, all the way to downtown Moraga.
At 23.2 mi, take a right onto Canyon Rd. This will bring you back to the Valle Vista Staging Area, bringing the loop's total distance to 25 miles.
***Some sections of this ride have wide designated bike lanes, while others have no bike lane or shoulder whatsoever. Drivers in the East Bay are generally pretty bike-aware, but remember to stay to the right-hand side of the road, especially on the curvy roads through the hills.
***NOTE: South Park Drive is CLOSED November through April for the newt crossing, So this ride is best for late spring through early fall.
- Bike! A road bike is preferred, as the climbs are quite steep!
- Helmet, sunglasses, and layers (e.g. sleeves and a vest). It can get quite chilly in the hills if there is fog.
- Water- 2 24-oz-bottles should be sufficient if you top off at the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve house.
- Snacks! These are some steep hills so you'll want some calories, especially going along Grizzly Peak.
- An odometer is optional but useful for following the directions provided.
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