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Thursday, January 3, 2019
My wife and I started this ride at the northern most entrance at the corner of San Bruno Avenue West and Skyline Blvd. We parked at a dirt church parking lot across from the trail head that a sign said was open to the public. TrailLinks indicates there is parking at the San Andrea Trail parking lot about a ½ mile down the trail along Skyline Blvd. It not really a parking lot but more of a wide spot on the road. I actually didn’t recognize it on the first pass as there was only one car parked there.
Heading south from the trail head (you begin on the two lane paved San Andreas Trail) you begin a rolling incline as you ride along next to Skyline Road. After about 3 miles you will top out as you head toward the San Andreas Lake and begin a long 400 foot drop over the next mile or two to the San Andreas Dam. Pedaling is optional and by this time you have passed at least one bathroom…expect to see more.
By the time you reach the dam, you will be on the Sawyer Camp Recreational Trail. The view from the dam was spectacular, particularly as it is quite green this time of year. There are plenty of tree covered sections to make you really feel you are outdoors. A pretty nice feeling for being in the “city”. There are also several historic sites marked along the trail.
After crossing the dam your drop further down into the creek. The trees provide quite a bit of shading which would be good in the summer months but got quite chilly for our ride. There are picnic tables and of course, another bathroom.
You will eventually end up along the shore of the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir. Again, spectacular views and a ton of friendly deer. We also began to encounter more and more hikers as this section is easily accessible from the entrance at the Sawyer Camp trail head next to the Crystal Springs Road and is pretty flat all the way to the bottom of the San Andreas Dam. Not too much of a problem for our week day winter ride, but I expect this would get very crowded on weekends and summer.
We made our turnaround at the Sawyer Camp Trailhead (10 miles from our start) but not before making a side trip about a mile and a half north UP Hwy 35 to the Crystal Springs Golf course for lunch. The menu was typical bar food. The cheeseburger was huge and tasty. I would suggest splitting one as it came with a very large order of fries (my wife got onion rings). It was a small restaurant/bar overlooking the driving range.
My wife and I have Specialized Como electric bikes so the pedal assisted ride back up the trail was not difficult. But the incline was not that steep and was steady over a couple miles. Good gearing and little patience should not dampen your ride.
Total round trip (including the 1-1/2 mile one way side trip for lunch) was 22 miles.
This was our first ride of 2019 on a route we had never been before and we have lived in the Bay Area for 30 years. A hearty thanks to TrailLink for highlighting this on their web page!
Do yourself a favor and skip the first half of this trail if you’re on a board. It’s pretty lame to begin with and the roads that you have to travel along are terrible. Part of the first half is also gravel and you’ll have to walk. But the second half is pretty awesome...especially the last 1/4. Go off the trail a bit and explore the back roads..there are some fun hills.
After reading about the Arroyo Mocho Trail, I headed out to reconnoiter my future commute route to work (Livermore) from San Ramon. The first 4-5 miles of this trail is hazardous for those with novice or beginner level riding skills. Those first few miles are mostly loose gravel with some gaping cracks in the paved sections. After that, the trail turns to a smoother, paved trail. Mountain, Gravel, Cyclocross or otherwise 'wide tires' are recommended for those with less experience riding in loose terrain.
The start of the trail by the fish viewing area is a FIRE TRAIL. The second half, after crossing the road, is paved asphalt. Unfortunately I showed up with my road bike and not my mountain bike, so my ride was a short one.
A friend and I rode this trail as part of a two-day bike ride in East Bay – riding the Iron Horse Trail and the Contra Costa Canal Trails. On the first day – we road mostly the Iron Horse and then rode the Eastern Section of the Canal Trail to the end and back. This section of the Canal trail started out a bit rough but only for a small portion – maybe 100 yards – then the surface was smooth and it was a great ride along the canal through nice neighborhoods. We spent the night near the intersection of the Iron Horse and the Canal Trail and rode the Western Section the next day before heading back down the Iron Horse Trail. The western section of the trail was great as well – nice surface – easy to follow with a minimum of street crossings. Both of these trails have a lot of street crossings, but almost all of the crossings give a preference to the trail. We only had to wait at a few. Definitely a nice place to ride!
A friend and I rode this trail as part of a two-day bike ride in East Bay – riding the Iron Horse Trail and the Contra Costa Canal Trails. This trail gets 4.5 stars – there are some sections that area not all that great, but for the most part of the 24.5 miles we rode (both ways) are fabulous! We started in Dublin and rode to the end. The trail from Dublin through Danville and Alamo was really excellent, going through nice neighborhoods, has a GREAT, smooth surface and was sheltered for the most part so wind was not a great factor either way. The Walnut Creek section was a bit sketchy with some not so nice, unattractive sections with chain-link fences and rough surface. Odd – because one of the sections was used by High School students in large groups going home – it is absolutely used as a transportation route – not just a multi-use trail for recreation. We would have thought it would be better maintained. Past that and into Concord it was nice again except that there is an unmarked break in the trail at Monument Boulevard. We simply crossed a road and ended up on the wrong trail without noticing and there are no markings at all to say turn left here and go a few feet to the Iron Horse Trail so we found ourselves dumped onto a street unexpectedly. This was the Monument Corridor Trail in Concord. When you cross Monument Boulevard, you need to pay attention. It was a bit confusing and difficult to get back to the trail we wanted. But we did and coming back figured out what the problem was. The rest of the trail was ok but a bit choppy (i.e., bumps, cracks) around the airport. There are a couple of underpasses – but you notice right away if you miss them and can see where the trail is – like at Concord Avenue. The end of the trail is through an open field on the side of an airport and can get quite windy – but it isn’t long and is just part of the experience. Overall – a GREAT ride!
BE CAREFUL on the part of the trail that connects Antioch to Oakley. There are guys riding motorbikes on the trail sometime. They usually stick to the hills but will come down to the trail. There are some incredibly blind turns and these guys are driving really fast. They WILL hurt someone or themselves one day.
I don't really enjoy this trail. I only use it for my convenience. In fact, I use this trail to get to the Marsh Creek Trail, which is awesome!
Nice flat trail that is perfect for older dogs. Lots of garbage cans available along the way for dog poop.
I only rated it this high as I only saw a very small section. We walked from 3rd street south to Imola. this is a rough area. no lights along the trail it runs between the river and the railroad tracks. lots of homeless camping. such a shame as the trail is a nice wide trail in good shape.
The start of the trail in Berkeley leaves much to be desired. A clean up and improvements to update the trail for overall safety and as a community attraction is needed. Better signage should be mandatory. Almost gave this trail a 3 star rating but soon as you are in the Albany/El Cerrito areas the environment is different in a very good way - well maintained, clean, no vagrants ( I rode the trail midday on a Sunday) , used by pedestrians & cyclists. Evidently enjoyed by the community. Being right next to BART is a plus - helpful for commuters and cyclists wanting to explore other areas.
Way too short
Had an errand to run in Richmond by bike and Bart and was directed to the trail by Google maps. At each intersection, there were signs indicating I was on the trail (I knew that!) but nothing indicating the street name; the only way to figure out where you are is to get off the trail and ride to the nearest street intersection. On the way back to the Bart station, I got lost and ended up on a dangerous road. How about some signs????????
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