Altamont Pass & Lake del Valle loop

The idea for this route came from an ALC Training Ride from the spring, which was canceled due to weather. I had the route sheet and saved it. David G2 and I were talking, he offered to co-lead with me, and I mentioned wanting to do this route, and so it began. I also pulled out an old route sheet for the Primavera Century, from 2005, as I remembered riding up to Altamont Pass then. So between the two, I came up with this new and improved version going to Altamont Pass and then going up to the summit at Del Valle Regional Park.

Starting at Union City BART, the weather was strange, but in a good way, all day. While there was cloud cover and at times it looked fairly dark and menacing, the forecast of no rain proved to be true. What was equally amazing (no complaints, mind you) was the lack of wind, even up crossing 580 on Altamont Pass. The wind turbines were not even running!

David G2 and I were joined by Will and Roger Chapman, along with Tim and Ann, along with a co-worker of David’s who rode with us to Sunol. We regrouped in Sunol at the Niles Canyon Railway station. From there, we headed up Foothill Road, passing by a tarantula crossing the road on up to Pleasanton. What I didn’t realize is that there was the possibility of two left turns onto Bernal Road. The one I wanted us to take was the second one, so we ended up with a slight diversion heading west back towards 680. A quick phone call to Tim out in front, he had already realized something was amiss and was headed back.

When we got back to First Street, we picked up the route as it should have been, zig zagging thru Pleasanton and Livermore to out lunch stop on Vasco Road. I checked with a freind at work and there was a Quiznos and a Starbucks at this strip mall. What I didn’t know was, that the Quiznos was closed on Sundays. Fortunately the Starbucks was open and some chose to lunch there, and some of us chose to eat at the Mexican restaurant, Taqueria Consuelito, which had huge burritos, I was glad I only ordered the regular.

From there, we were only a few miles from Altamont Pass Road, on the north side of 580, which we followed to Carroll Road which crossed us over 580 to Flynn Road North and the view of all the wind turbines. After a bit more climbing, descended some to Patterson Pass Road and then another small climb over Cross Road and we were headed down Tesla to Mines Road, which could take us all teh way up the back side of Mt. Hamilton.

David G2 was feeling a bit off by this point, and so he opted to head back from there, skipping the Lake del Valle out and back portion. This proved fortunate, as he discovered my second route error and he called to tell me that there was no left turn onto Wente, but onto Concannon. So there are definite drawbacks to using only a route mapping program.

The out and back to the summit overlooking Lake del Valle is just a tad over 5 miles each way, this part of Mines Road being a gentle ascent, but the real climb starts as soon as you turn off to head to the reservoir. And unfortunately, there is no real view of the reservoir from the summit either. I rode down a bit just to see if there was a view from a ways down, but you’d have to go most of the way down.

Route profile

The descent back to Mines Road was nice, and we continued on the Livermore to Pleasanton, and rather than heading back down Foothill, the route took us on Pleasanton-Sunol Road for a bit of variety on the return portion. We regrouped again at the railway station in Sunol before heading back into Niles Canyon, and thanks to the interesting weather, we did not have the expected major afternoon headwind, ending back at the Union City BART station, with 81 miles, just 4 over the planned, with our missed turn. Thanks again everyone for coming out to ride!