Orinda, California 94563, United States
Briones Overlook via Bear Creek Trail is a highly trafficked 11.4 kilometer back and forth trail located near Orinda, California, which features a lake and is graded as moderate. The path provides a range of events, and is open throughout the year. Horses are also able to use this trail.
A fun out-and-back using the Bear Creek Trail which skirts the southern and eastern shores of the Briones Reservoir and ends near the staging area of Briones Overlook. A wide range of trees , shrubs, and flowers make this an excellent hike for research into nature.
NOTE: Trail use permit required. Only dogs or motorcycles allowed on the trails. If you want to do this as a shuttle ride, leave a car on Bear Creek Road at the EBMUD Briones Overlook staging point, 1.4 miles northeast of Camino Pablo. Then continue to the Bear Creek staging area.
Briones Reservoir Loop Trail
This is a major, not-so-secret, hike in secret. While this is used very well, it's a wide area and people prefer to spread out naturally so it never feels too busy. In the spring enjoy a complete loop around the reservoir to capture the wildflower blooms.
Need to Know
Need a recreational permit to use the area.
From the parking area of the Overlook Staging Area, hop for a brief spell on the Bear Creek Trail before reaching Oursan Trail. Cross the dam on the Oursan Trail, and continue a mellow climb up the hills above the reservoir. The springtime wildflowers can be spectacular here. You will plunge a little less than a mile into the woods before heading out into the meadows.
Make sure you protect yourself from the sun.
The Oursan Trail dips back down toward the water and parallels the shore all the way to the Bear Creek Staging Area. From there, jump on Bear Creek Trail and follow it along the water's edge heading west. This trail is a bit more forested and offers more shade. Follow this all the way back to your start point.
The reward: Amazing views of the reservoir from high above as well as serene views of the surrounding hills, among other wildflowers, dominated by California poppies, purpleheads, lupines and redstem stork's bill. Stay on the Oursan Trail for the next 7 miles as you cross private and public lands with cattle gates that take you to walk within feet of the magnificent reservoir from high on the hills above. You'll be about 4 miles away at the Bear Creek Staging Area (which has bathrooms).