Monday, April 7, 2014

60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Thirty-two
Briones Regional Park

View of lovely hills from Old Briones Road Trail

What it's like:
4.3 miles up, over, and down glorious rolling grassy hills near Walnut Creek.

Why now:
Flower displays peak in April before grass towers over and obstructs big patches of California poppy, creamcups, and lupines.

If you can't make it this week:
Often really muddy in winter due to cattle traffic. Pleasant in autumn, especially the colorful foliage on Black Oak Trail.

Insider tip:
Briones is a large park with several staging areas, but Bear Creek provides the most parking as well as a few charming picnic sites (with grills and tables) near the trailhead.

Briones is hike number 22 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition)Read about this hike on BAHiker.

Alternate choice:
Calero County Park trails lead uphill from the shore of their namesake reservoir, southwest of San Jose. This is a remote and often lonely place, where wildflowers are plentiful in spring (you may see some rare ones in the serpentine soil part of the park).  Spend a few hours exploring Calero on this 5.1 mile loop, or make a full day out of it by continuing deeper into the hills. Most trails here are old ranch roads with moderate grades -- check the park map for some ideas.

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