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.
With its rolling, grassy hills and secluded, shady canyons, Briones is a secret wilderness surrounded by the central town of Contra Costa County. Although the park is close to Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord, and Martinez, there are peaks within which you can only see parks and watersheds for miles in every direction.
From Briones Peak, the highest point in the park, you can enjoy panoramic views of Mount Diablo and the Diablo Valley to the east, the Sacramento River and the Delta to the north, the East Bay Hills and Mt. Tamalpais to the west, and the Regional Wilderness of Las Trampas to the south.
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 Reservation, as a research center. The East Bay Regional Park District of Briones was established in October 1967.
Briones is the ideal park for hiking, running, and horseback riding on the scenic trails of the park; picnic, bird watching, and similar activities; and informal recreation such as kite flying, photography, and nature study. There are five major access points, the most developed of which are the Alhambra Creek Valley Staging Area off Reliez Valley Road near Martinez and the Bear Creek Road Staging Area near Orinda and Lafayette.
Briones Regional Park offers a number of first-come, first-served picnic sites with tables and barbecues in the Bear Creek Staging Area and the Alhambra Creek Staging Area. The park also has two larger, reserved group picnic areas in the Bear Creek Staging Area: Oak Grove, which can accommodate up to 50 people, and Newt Hollow, which has a capacity of 150.
The Alhambra Creek Staging Area has a new, 50-person picnic site, Crow, which is fully accessible. 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.
To reach Bear Creek Staging Area on Bear Creek Road, exit at Orinda/Camino Pablo Exit at Highway 24 and head towards Richmond. Turn right onto Bear Creek Road and travel 5 miles to the staging area on the right.
This amazing landmark is perfect for kids and is located near the following must-see sights in Lafayette, California:
Chabot Space and Science Center
Tilden Regional Park
Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park
Joaquin Miller Park
Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
Regional Parks Botanic Garden
Las Trampas Regional Wilderness Park
Roberts Regional Recreation Area
All of these wonderful attractions are located just a short drive from our location near Downtown Walnut Creek, California on Locust Street. Stop by for a visit anytime!