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Briones Loop, West Side

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by Transit & Trails


Wildlife Sightings

by iNaturalist


Length: 3.21 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Halfday
Created by Dan Rademacher

Dan was editor of Bay Nature from 2004 until 2013, when he left to work for SF-based Stamen Design. A onetime professional cabinetmaker, he considers himself a lifelong maker of things and teller of stories. Dan has been working at the intersection of journalism and technology since, at age 16, he began learning reporting, page layout, and database design. His enduring interest in environmental issues crystallized into a career path in 1998 when he assisted former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass in a cross-disciplinary nature writing and ecology course at UC Berkeley, from which Dan received a Masters in English literature. In 1999, he became Associate Editor of Terrain, the erstwhile quarterly magazine of Berkeley's Ecology Center. In addition to editing and art-directing Bay Nature magazine, he was also Bay Nature’s chief technology strategist, fixer of broken things, and designer of databases and fancy spreadsheets. And he was even known to leave the office and actually hike outdoors.

Good for:
  • Birding
  • Views
  • Chaparral
  • Forests and Woodlands
  • Grasslands
  • Hiking


This is a nice, relatively easy hike through typical Contra Costa County grasslands and oak woodlands, with decent wildflowers in season and plenty of wildlife as well. We stopped for lunch under the shade of a trailside oak and, after sitting quietly for 15 minutes, were treated first to a pocket gopher emerging and doing its thing and then to a coyote loping by just down the hill. For about noon on a warm Sunday in spring, that was a nice sighting!

Head out on Briones Valley Road along the flat valley bottom, then turn left on Black Oak Trail soon after you cross over a stream. You'll go though a large meadow and then veer left, climbing up, up, up toward Mott Peak Trail. Great views along here, and always watch for red-tailed hawks or even golden eagles.

Then we descended back down on Abrigo Valley Trail, which had a good amount of shade. That takes you back to the trailhead.


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