Road Biking the Berkeley-Oakland Hills

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A vigorous ascent into the Berkeley and Oakland Hills offers spectacular views of San Francisco, the Peninsula, and Mt. Tamalpais. Combine this with a quiet, vehicle free climb into little-known Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and we think you'll have a new favorite Sunday ride. 


How to Get There

1. Start near the intersection of Ashby and Claremont Avenues in Berkeley.

- From I-80 take the Ashby Avenue exit and head east for three miles.  

- From Highway 24 take the Hwy 13 North Berkeley exit and continue for .8 mile on Tunnel Rd.

- Or take AC Transit—route #604 operates on Ashby/Tunnel Rd. and the #49 on Claremont Avenue

The Ride

1. Head east on Ashby. After crossing Claremont Avenue, Ashby becomes Tunnel Rd.

2. The first uphill section is rather narrow, so we recommend you take the bike route: Take a right turn on Dominga, then a left on El Camino Real, followed by another left on The Uplands. Another right brings you back onto Tunnel Rd. and the dedicated bike lane.

3. As you approach the freeway, make a safe left hand turn to continue on Tunnel; be cautious of fast moving vehicles as you crossover.

4. A quarter mile later, the ascent becomes more tranquil with stunning views to the west as the road maintains a pretty steady incline some 5% for the 3.5 miles (about 900') to the intersection with Grizzly Peak Blvd.

5. Turn left and climb for a quarter mile before beginning a rapid, 2 mile descent to the next intersection with Claremont Ave and Fish Ranch Road. 

6. Turn right for a pretty steep (9%) descent down Fish Ranch Road; keep an eye open for hikers crossing the upper part of the road on Skyline Trail. 0.8 mile later, cross over Hwy 24 again above the eastern entrances to the Caldecott tunnel.

7. Turn right to climb up Old Tunnel Road for 0.4 miles.

8. Bear left into the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. At the small parking lot dismount and go through the gate.

9. A nice, meandering climb up Quarry Road provides rewarding views. At the top, you can proceed a bit further on the unpaved Volcanic trail (the first part has a lot of gravel, but things improve in 50 yards.)

10. Reverse course and descend Quarry and Old Tunnel to take in the last ascent up Fish Ranch. 

11. At the intersection with Grizzly Peak head straight and begin your descent down Claremont Ave. to return to the start.

This ride is about 14 miles and nets about 2000 feet of elevation gain.

Ride Options

There are number of additional side trips to extend this ride.

1. At the first intersection of Skyline and Grizzly Peak you can continue straight down Snake Rd. to Oakland's Montclair district. There are a number of routes back, none very easy, with the hardest option (9-13%) being Thornhill, Sobrante, Thorndale, Everton back to Skyline.

2. Continuing on Grizzly Peak from Fish Ranch will take you up to Tilden Park where you can a.) go back, b.) head down to Camino Pablo in Orinda via Lomas Cantadas and return via Wildcat Canyon and Grizzly Peak or South Park or c.) continue on Grizzly Peak and return down Strawberry Canyon via Centennial Drive through the UC Campus. 

Post Ride

Explore Claremont and College Avenues in Oakland's Rockridge District for tasty post-ride meal options including breakfast at Crepevine and coffee at A16 Rockridge. 

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