“This short loop offers some of the best views with a challenging climb.”
— Bob Gardner
Expansive views in all directions, but especially over San Francisco Bay out to the Golden Gate Bridge on this short loop that can actually be ridden in about an hour. It includes a paved section, fire roads and narrow doubletrack with a short section of singletrack. The climb back to the start is steep and technical in spots.
Starting from Inspiration Point, the loop can be ridden in either direction, but counterclockwise is recommended for first timers since it begins with an easy paved section with nice views. The Nimitz Way Trail
starts at the gate and past the restrooms with a short climb to a viewpoint to the west over S.F. Bay. The first couple of miles is an easy roll and is popular with hikers, joggers, and dog walkers. You'll pass through a shady grove of eucalyptus trees just before reaching the boundary between Tilden and Wildcat Canyon Regional Parks.
The Conlon Trail
will be a sharp left up a steep gravel road to a viewpoint looking east toward Mt. Diablo. It levels off fairly quickly, swinging around towards the northwest, and just before reaching a cattle gate; look for the viewpoint bench on the hill to the left (west). This is one of the best S.F. Bay panoramas in the area.
Continue past the gate, where the road isn't regularly maintained so it rides more like a singletrack but is rough and beat-up from grazing cattle. After a brief climb, the trail is a downhill run over an open ridge-top with views to the west and north. It gets steeper towards the bottom with some sharp turns and you'll need to watch your speed as there's another gate at the Wildcat Creek Trail
Keep left on Wildcat Creek Trail
, which joins the Loop Road
back to Tilden Park. The Lone Oak Trail
will be on the left and is the start of the Wildcat Gorge Trail
. The Meadows Canyon Trail
also starts here and is an easier option for returning to Inspiration Point.
The Wildcat Gorge Trail
immediately crosses a creek. It is usually rideable with steep banks and a rooty section to get up the other side. This section of the trail is more singletrack, so watch for poison oak along edges. The trail widens to doubletrack once you're in the shaded canyon and there's a short rocky climb followed by another section with exposed roots. It's a shady creek ride all the way to the junction with the Curran Trail
Continue up the Curran Trail
, which is steep in places and a few roots and rocks makes for a challenging climb back to the start at Inspiration Point.
If doing this ride in the clockwise direction, use the Havey Canyon Trail
for the connector between Wildcat Creek Trail
and Nimitz Way Trail
. The junction is just past the Conlon Trail