Briones Peak P750 CC
Mott Peak

Tue, Jul 6, 2010

With: Ryan Burd

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Ryan was in a more accomodating mood today, agreeing to join me for a hike in Briones Regional Park. The Briones Hills are a small range of rolling, oak-studded hills nestled amidst the suburban sprawl in Contra Costa County. Walnut Creek butts up against its eastern edge, Martinez to the north, Orinda and other small communities along SR24 to the south. It took about an hour to drive to the Briones Road Staging Area in the southwest part of the park from our home in San Jose. Briones Peak is the highpoint of the park and a CC-listed peak. There are three other summits named on the park map though none of them are officially named peaks recognized by the BGN. Along with hikers, the park is popular with mountainbikers and equestrians. Cattle is actively grazed throughout the park, explaining the many fences, ranch roads and gates found along the way. We saw only one cow during our hike and not too much cow poop. There seems to be a good mix between ranch and recreational uses in the park.

The route we chose evolved over the course of the afternoon, extending longer than we had planned because we were both enjoying the visit and wanted a bit more. We hiked or jogged most of the Briones Crest Trail (BCT), a dirt road running in a large arcing route that follows along the outside of the main Bear Creek drainage that makes up the central portion of the park. From the TH we hiked past the archery range on the Crescent Ridge Trail, taking this to the main crest. At the junction we turned north and followed the BCT around towards the summit of Briones Peak.

The BCT bypasses a short distance below the summit, but one of several unmarked use trails can be utilized to access the summit. A small benchmark and a nice bench can be found at the top. It had been 54F when we started, breezy and chilly all the way to the summit, despite it being July. It was windier at the top, keeping us from relaxing there for too long. Shortly after leaving the summit the fog began to burn off and though it was still quite windy along the road the rest of the afternoon, the sun made things downright pleasant. There is a decent view north from the summit to Martinez and Suisun Bay. We could easily see the mothballed navy fleet anchored off shore as well as the Martinez Bridge where Interstate 680 crosses north over the Sacramento River.

Ryan was game for his first taste of trail running and did admirably at it. Dad was handicapped with the pack to keep things about even. We made a short side trip to Mott Peak, little more than a patch of grass atop the high point of the west side of the park, a barbed-wire fence running over the top (as on Briones Peak). We went back to the BCT and followed it around for another couple miles before dropping down off the crest and back to the parking lot. In all we spent just under three hours covering six or seven miles. We both agreed that it was a much better hike than the recent outing to Black Point near Mt. Diablo.


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M Worster comments on 07/14/10:
Right outside our front door! A nice little place to play, and I agree with you on the land use pattern. It seems to work. Our little one breaks in her hiking shoes there. That little saddle between Mott and Briones is an excellent place to watch the best winter storms run in. They often funnel through that saddle with plenty of wind and fury . . . it's awesome. An excellent test of foul weather gear if there ever was one.
annie comments on 07/15/10:
hi ryan its annie whats up?
More of Bob's Trip Reports

For more information see these SummitPost pages: Briones Peak - Mott Peak

This page last updated: Thu Jul 15 11:24:06 2010
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