Briones Regional Park is a 6,117-acre (24.75 km2) regional park situated in the Briones Hills of central Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, in the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) system.
The park is situated in the East Bay region's rolling hills, near Martinez, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, and Nice Hill. The western end of the Briones Regional Park, run by EBMUD along Bear Creek Lane, is adjacent to the Briones Reservoir.
With an elevation of 1483 ft (452 m), Briones Peak is the highest point in the park, offering panoramic views of Mount Diablo and the Diablo Valley to the east, the Sacramento River to the north, and the Berkeley Hills and Mt. Tamalpais to the west.
The park is also home to many species and birds, such as turkey vultures, black-tailed deer, cougars, coyotes, squirrels, and red-tailed hawks. For grazing purposes, cattle, sheep, and goat ranchers do use parts of the park and keep a one-hundred-year lease that is valid until the 2060s.
Located within Briones Park, Lafayette Ridge runs parallel to the town of Lafayette. The Lafayette Ridge Trail is roughly 3.2 km (2 miles) long. It starts at the Springhill Elementary School parking lot and reaches the summit of Russel Peak at an elevation of 1357 ft (414 m), where it splits into the Russel Peak Trail and Briones Crest Trail. Many other trails, most notably the Springhill and Buckeye Ranch Trails, branch of the Lafayette Ridge Trail. The ridge's trails offer mountain biking terrain with occasional gains/descents of up to an elevation of 200 ft (61 m).
The area that includes present-day Briones Park and the Russell Reservation was part of the 1842 Rancho Boca de la Canada del Pinole Mexican land grant granted to Felipe Briones' widow. The Briones started ranching cattle in the area, which continues to the present day. In 1870, the Briones family sold the rancho.
By 1850, the main thoroughfare from Martinez south to the Pueblo of San José, and then up to San Francisco, was Happy Valley Road, which runs along the edge of Briones Regional Park.
The Peoples' Water Company, the forerunner of the East Bay Municipal Utility District, bought the land for the preservation of the watershed in 1909.
Since 1966, as a research site, the University of California has kept a 283-acre (1.15 km2) tract of land in the Briones Hills, known as the Russell Reservation.
In October 1967, the East Bay Regional Park District formed Briones Regional Park.
This amazing park is located near the following amazing must-see sites in Orinda, California:
- Orinda Oaks Park
- Briones Overlook Staging Area
- Mulholland Ridge Open Space
- Siesta Valley Recreation Area
- Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Labyrinth
- Tilden Regional Park
- Seaview Trailhead
- Orinda Park and Recreation Foundation
All of these wonderful points of interest are located just a short distance from our location, conveniently located just down the freeway at 1261 Locust St, Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!