Chestnuts and pines: two things that’ll put you in the holiday spirit! Find both on this 4.5-mile loop hike (or mountain bike ride) through the northeastern corner of Briones Regional Park.
Start your trek at the Alhambra Creek Staging Area (there’s a $3 fee if an attendant is on duty). Follow Orchard Trail for 0.8 mile through open hills dotted by distant oaks and vineyards. Break off onto Pine Tree Trail, rising onto a pine-covered ridge and following Briones Road to the Briones Road Staging Area. (If you’re on a mountain bike, follow Pine Tree Trail until it narrows. The wide multi-use trail will take you to Briones Road, where you can continue up the hill on the road to the Briones Road Staging Area.)
Continue along Old Briones Road Trail surrounded by tree-covered hillsides still showcasing fall colors. Be on the lookout for shiny chestnuts along this portion of the trail as you traverse a hillside for a mile before dropping into a densely wooded valley on Spengler Trail. Meander through lush woods and head left on Alhambra Creek Trail. If the creek’s running it’s an extra holiday treat.
Christmas Tree Bonus: Still haven’t found your Christmas Tree? Check out Alhambra Christmas Tree Farm located on Reliez Valley Road, just 1.5 miles from the Alhambra Staging area parking lot.
The hike begins at Alhambra Creek Staging Area and crosses the Briones Road Staging Area. Both of these locations have drinking fountains and bathrooms. The trail may be muddy in spots. Dog-friendly!