Sometimes it might take years to come full circle, but I’m definitely at the point where I can appreciate the offerings of Berkeley Hills Gravel.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, I attended Cal and lived close to the campus, but I wasn’t much of a biker or explorer into the parks above.
Ironically, the dirt in these hills kept me from off-roading for many years as I had an impressionable crash on my first foray.
Time did heal all these wounds and as a much better rider, I was pretty confident I could handle what the Berkeley Hills would throw at me.
One thing that does hold true is that you’ll have to be quite the climber to make it up to the ridge lining Grizzly Peak Blvd and all the trails east of it.
We dipped into Tilden Park which has a wide range of recreation options for the whole family, but thankfully a number of gravel options too.
The highlight of the day was riding north onto the Wildcat Creek Trail that introduced us to these pastures.
While we weren’t quite into spring yet, these rolling hills were exquisite and unexpected coming from the dense, variety of foliage we had encountered.
Our plan was to make it up to San Pablo Ridge via the Havey Canyon Trail, but recent rain closed access, but lucky for us we were able to take the nearby Conlon Trail instead.
Yes, some of the pitches put us into on hike-a-bike mode, but being above the fray was golden getting views across to the Golden Gate, as well as inland to Mount Diablo.
Making our way out to Inspiration Point put us near the entrance to Vollmer Peak, which was a beast of a climb, but was true to its word being the highest point in the Berkeley Hills.
We exited out for a slight detour to the Grizzly Peak Overlook which biking wise is easier to get to than our previous view with a better perspective as well.
Nearby, we dipped back into Tilden Park onto the Vollmer Peak Trail that was only a mile, but with issues of exposed roots placed on steep declines, this might have been the trail that did me in years ago.
Originally, we were going to add the Quarry Trail to the route, but we had such a great day of riding, that was an adventure we were happy to delay for another time.
While our ride was relatively short, you wouldn’t know it by the experience as the East Bay is lucky to have some Berkeley Hills gravel in its repertoire.