A Quick & Dirty Guide to the Best Biking in East Bay

In the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Concord boasts a wealth of biking opportunities for all styles, from scenic road rides to technical singletrack to cruiser afternoons on urban trails.

To help you get the lay of the land, we’ve highlighted some of the East Bay’s best biking spots along with some local tips for getting everything you need to start pedaling around Concord.

Cycle Trails Around Concord

For the casual cyclist simply looking to get out and about on a sunny day, there are several easy bike paths in Concord and the surrounding towns. The Contra Costa Canal Trail traverses Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Martinez in a 14-mile-long horseshoe shape as it follows along the namesake canal. This paved, mostly flat trail provides easy access to a collection of local parks, commercial centers, and public transportation, while also connecting to several other cycle paths such as the Iron Horse Regional Trail.

Spanning a total of 32 miles, the Iron Horse Regional Trail travels a north-south route from Concord to Pleasanton and offers a safe, fun way to explore shops, restaurants, and parks in the seven towns it connects. Together, these two cycle paths form the main arteries of a thriving multi-use trail system in the East Bay as they intersect with other trails like the Briones to Mt. Diablo Regional Trail and the California Riding and Biking Trail.

For those cruising on the Iron Horse Trail, enjoy a relaxed lunch at one of the restaurants alongside the trail in Concord, like Eureka! Burgers or Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar.

Mountain Biking at Mount Diablo State Park

mountain bike trail
The Oyster Point Trail is one of the best options for those who love singletrack in Mount Diablo State Park. Miguel Vieira

Less than 20 miles south of Concord, this sprawling state park encompasses the namesake peak along with the surrounding woodlands and boasts some of the best mountain biking in the East Bay. Bikers of all levels can find worthwhile trails with some seriously stunning views, though the majority of the singletrack caters to strong intermediate or advanced riders. Of the more than 60 miles of trail open to mountain bikers in the park, the Mount Diablo Summit Trail, Oyster Point Trail, and Diablo Ranch Trail stand out as some of the most fun and rewarding rides.

After pushing it out on the singletrack, head back to Concord for a well-deserved pint at the Hop Grenade taproom downtown or Epidemic Ales, the offbeat, dog-friendly craft brewery at the north end of town.

Mountain Biking at Briones Regional Park

A quick 15-minute drive from downtown lies the peaceful open space of Briones Regional Park, where mountain bikers will find more than 35 miles of trails. Most of the trails are on old fire roads, and feature steep, scenic climbs, especially when the hillsides take on their picturesque green color from January to April. The park offers primarily intermediate to upper intermediate trails, with the Briones Crest Trail Ride, the Lafayette Ridge Trail, and Old Briones Road Trail taking the cake as the must-do rides.

After smashing the trails, knock back a few cold ones—and a burger to reward all that climbing—at E.J. Phair brewpub right by Todos Santos Plaza.

Popular Road Rides Near Concord

empty road weaves through hills
Smooth, wide-open roads make the area around Concord a favorite spot for cyclists. Oleg Shpyrko

Those heading out for a spin on thinner tires will have no shortage of scenic roads to ride around Concord. The undisputed crown jewel of road rides in the East Bay starts just a 20-minute drive from downtown: the summit of Mount Diablo. This 12-mile climb ascends nearly 3,600 feet to the top of one of the Bay Area’s highest peaks via the park’s South Gate Road. Meanwhile, the lesser-known Morgan Territory Road ride offers a gentler climb which starts at the northern edge of Mount Diablo State Park and crosses through Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. This quiet, winding road clocks in at 15 miles (one way) and climbs 1,460 feet before offering up a thrilling descent (cyclists can ride one way and use BART to get back to Concord).

Another local favorite, the Carquinez Loop travels 24 miles around the Carquinez Strait with two long bridge crossings over the water and incredible views the entire way. Several portions of the loop take advantage of car-free cycle paths making for an even more peaceful experience.

Insider Tips for Biking in Concord

Visitors can get acquainted with the city’s grassroots cycling organization, Bike Concord, as a local resource for the bike community. As advocates for safe, enjoyable biking in Concord, the organization hosts a year-round calendar of community and fundraising events and operates a free bike repair tent at the Todos Santos Plaza farmers’ markets.

Those in need of a quality local bike shop can check out the Encina Bicycle Centers Concord location, which offers repairs, bike and accessory retail, and professional coaching along with rentals for mountain, hybrid, and road bikes. For one-on-one or group mountain bike coaching in the area, reach out to Ian Massey of Trail Technique and put those new skills to the test on some Mount Diablo singletrack.

So whether you want to test yourself on serious singletrack or just want a quick ride to get ice cream, hop on that bike and discover for yourself why Concord has become one of the region’s top cycling destinations.

Written by Jenna Herzog for RootsRated Media in partnership with Visit Concord.

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