Ken Dyleski helps Save Mount Diablo with mapping and on-the-ground stewardship work. He collaborated on producing the first edition of the Mt. Diablo map published by Save Mt. Diablo. His GPS enabled digital trail map of the Diablo Grand Loop was published on the National Geographic Topo site. He has a California State Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Diablo Valley College.
Mr. Dyleski's previous articles on the outdoors have been published in Sierra magazine, Northern California Explorer, and the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Forests and Woodlands
This might be the “Haute Route” of Briones Regional Park! It’s an exposed to the elements waterless hike with spectacular vistas, much more heavily used from the Acalanes end than the Briones end. The only drawback is it may necessitate a shuttle from the Lafayette Ridge Staging Area across Pleasant Hill Rd. from Acalanes Ridge Open Space, back to Briones. But, it’s also possible to do an out and back type hike to add some hiking mileage. Carry and use the EBRPD Briones Regional Park map as the route only occasionally has trail signs. The free map is available in the staging areas at either end of this hike.
Start at the Briones Regional Park Bear Creek Staging Area off Bear Creek Rd. Pass the entrance kiosk and park in the lot nearest the gate across Bear Creek Rd. and the Archery Range sign. Walk a short distance past the gate on the road staying to the right as it descends and then climbs before reaching a large open area and becomes the signed Seaborg Trail leading right. The Seaborg follows along the right side of a creek up a narrowing canyon on trail surface often rutted by cattle hoof prints. In wet weather it is a muddy slog. Seaborg Trail reaches the Briones Crest Trail in about 1.5 miles. The view is post card perfect at that point and gets even better. Turn right onto the signed Briones Crest Trail and reach the signed Lafayette Ridge Trail in less than a quarter mile. Take this trail left and find several very steep roller coaster ups and downs on sometimes unsecure footing until it finally levels out. Enjoy the views and easy hiking now staying on the south side of the Lafayette Ridge near the ridge summit. Don’t descend on the numerous side trails leading downhill through private property or backyards.
As you reach a section of trail beginning to descend steeply downhill towards Pleasant Hill Rd. and Acalanes Ridge visible below, the trail will become a wide dirt fire road. Follow the Lafayette Ridge trail signs, pass a scenic abandoned barn and corral on the right and descend on virtually any of the nebulous trails and roads leading down to the hikes end at Lafayette Ridge Staging Area. If you are doing this hike as an out-and-back, it is best to turn around at the point the Lafayette Ridge Trail begins the steep descent towards the staging area. Ambitious hikers can continue over to Acalanes Ridge Open Space and explore the Gary Bogue and other short scenic trails.