2537 Reliez Valley Road, Martinez, California 94553, United States
Briones Regional Park is a 6,117-acre (24.75 km2) regional park in the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) system located in Briones Hills, central Contra Costa County, San Francisco Bay Area, California.
The park is situated in the rolling hills of the East Bay region, near Martinez, California, Lafayette, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill. The western end of Briones Regional Park is adjacent to the Briones Reservoir, which is run by EBMUD across Bear Creek Road.
The area which today includes Briones Park and Russell Reservation was part of the 1842 Mexican land grant of Rancho Boca de la Canada del Pinole to the widow of Felipe Briones. The Briones began cattle ranching in the area, which continues to this day. The Briones family sold the rancho in 1870.By 1850, Happy Valley Road, which runs along the outskirts of Briones Regional Park, was the main road from Martinez south to the Pueblo of San José, and then to San Francisco. In 1909, the People's Water Company, a precursor to the East Bay Municipal Utility District, purchased watershed protection land. Since 1966, the University of California has maintained a 283-acre (1.15 km2) plot of land in the Briones Hills, known as the Russell Reserve, as a research centre.
Briones Peak, which is 1483 feet (452 m) highest in the park, provides panoramic view to the east of Mount Diablo and Diablo Valley, to the north of the Sacramento River, to the west of Berkeley Hills and Tamalpais Mountains.
The park is also home to many animals and birds, such as turkey vultures, black-tailed deer, cougars, coyotes, squirrels and red-tailed hawks. Cattle , sheep and goat ranchers still use portions of the park for grazing purposes and hold a one-hundred-year lease that is effective until the 2060s.
Briones is an ideal park to walk, ride, and horseback ride along scenic paths of the park, picnicking, and watching birds and the like and for informal recreation like kite flying, photography or studying nature. The Alhambra Creek Valley Staging Area off Reliez Valley Road near Martinez is the five major access points, and the Bear Creek Road Staging Area near Orinda and Lafayette the two most developed. There are five main access points.
From Briones' west side entrance to the Bear Creek Road the Briones Archers Bowling Range is accessible off the Crescent Ridge Trail. Cows and calves are in the trail areas of Tabletop, Spengler, Blue Oak, Buckeye, Sunrise and Lafayette Ridge. The annual cattle are in the Deer Creek, Pereira, Valley and Briones Crest Trail Areas.