Epic views don’t always come from bagging peaks. Sometimes it’s all about the loop! There’s a challenging 3.9-mile hike at Briones Regional Park where the reward is some of the East Bay’s best views.
The hike starts at Springhill Road trailhead on its namesake trail. Begin climbing immediately, winding up through a mixed forest of oaks and other trees churning fall colors.
The true views come as you approach the junction with the Lafayette Ridge Trail. You’ll get nearly unobstructed views of Mount Diablo and the hillsides surrounding Lafayette.
Take a right onto the Lafayette Ridge Trail, and hike among small pockets of oaks before you reach open grasslands and rolling hills. When you reach the Briones Crest Trail, take a right and make the final push to the highest point on the hike (also one of the highest points in the park).
As you turn to begin your descent, jump onto the Sunrise Trail, named for its east-west direction. The views you get of Mount Diablo might well be the best in the park. Entering the valley is a treat as the trees show off their fall foliage. Turn left onto Buckeye Ranch Trail to finish the loop. Viewtiful!
This loop is difficult and covers over 1,100 feet of elevation gain. Pack plenty of water as water is not available at the trailhead. Parking is limited and it is suggested that this trail be completed in the morning before the afternoon heat. Bathrooms are available at the trailhead. Dog-friendly!