From the issue Holiday Classics
To start the weekend on a holiday high, grab your fleece and get your blood pumping with a classic hike. Briones Park in the East Bay offers five staging areas that let you explore a new path every visit. In rain or mist or shine, a brisk walk down Bear Creek or Alhambra Creek Trail will give you a head-clearing taste of wilderness. Most highly recommended? The off-trail trek to Mott Peak (1,424-ft. elevation): The 360-degree view from the summit, all rolling hillsides and marshy delta, is guaranteed to fill you with tidings of panoramic joy.
To reach Mott Peak, park at the end of Briones Road. Start your hike on “Old Briones Road,” go past the gate and make a right on Briones Crest Trail. After 1/2 mile, bear left onto Mott Peak trail. Descend a short distance, then leave the trail and head up to Mott Peak. More information and maps