Peak 1,140ft P300
Peak 1,305ft P300

Wed, May 25, 2016
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Round Valley Regional Preserve is located in the Mt. Diablo foothills on the east side, between Antioch and Livermore. My cousin and I took our mountain bikes there to tackle two unnamed summits outside the preserve to the north and northwest. It's a fairly long drive from San Jose, though not as far from his house in Pleasanton where I stopped to pick him up on the way. We got to the trailhead off Marsh Creek Rd before 10a and were off and riding by the top of the hour. The trailhead was surprisingly busy for an out-of-the-way place during mid-week.

We rode across the bridge at Marsh Creek (all but dry now) and took the Miwok Trail west for about a mile and a half. There are numerous informal single-track trails that have been beaten into the dry, grassy hillsides over the years. These roughly parallel the Miwok Trail (a decommissioned ranch road) and make for fun alternatives. At Round Valley we reached a junction and followed the north fork towards the park boundary. We got sidetracked on another single track that took us off the main roadway and up a dry creek where it eventually petered out at the boundary. We lifted the bikes over a barbed-wire fence here, crawled under ourselves, and then made our way back up to the main roadway, now outside the park. A little-used ranch road branches off to climb the ridge to the east, the highpoint of which is Peak 1,140ft, our first stop. Only some of this steep road could be ridden, party due to the gradient, but mostly because the road itself is terribly rough and bumpy - not much fun for riding at all. Once atop the ridge where views open up nicely, we road SE another half mile to the highpoint, arriving an hour after starting out. The highest point is just off the road under a stately oak in the tall grass, now brown and full of stickers. My brief foray of some 20ft to visit it would cost me some time to remove the stickers I picked up.

After our brief stay we headed back down the same way to reach the main road in the canyon below. The ride was horribly jarring on my suspension-less bike. My cousin joked that maybe it was time for me to buy a more modern one. Back at the bottom, we picked up another branch road heading west up the opposite ridge to our second summit, Peak 1,305ft. This road was in far worse shape and hadn't been driven on in years. We pushed the bikes nearly the entire distance, a climb of some 600ft. We reached the summit around 11:45a where we found a memorial cairn dedicated to someone's grandfather, probably one of the ranchers that have worked this land over the generations. We took a longer break here (and a much longer time to remove stickers from the shoes and socks), with a fine view taking in the rolling hills all around us and the much higher summits of Mt. Diablo to the west. Afterwards, we headed southeast down a different road that would return us to Round Valley and the preserve. Once back on the Miwok Trail, we rode east across Round Valley and the preserve to return us to the TH by 12:30p. The whole outing covered just shy of 10mi in 2.5hrs, a good workout to earn us Indian buffet for lunch...

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