San Francisco East Bay - Top Bike Climbs

#1
Mt. Diablo - North Gate
USA, CA
#2
Welch Creek Road
USA, CA
#3
Mt. Diablo - South Gate
USA, CA

Climb List: San Francisco East Bay
(sort by distance, difficulty, elevation and more)

Cycling San Francisco East Bay

The “East Bay” is the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay area and includes Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.  By far the most significant and popular climb in the East Bay is Mount Diablo.  

MT. DIABLO (NORTH GATE / SOUTH GATE)Cycling Mt. Diablo - aerial drone pano of north and south gate roads.

Cycling Mt. Diablo - An East Bay Jewel

General Information

Mt. Diablo is a very popular East Bay State Park that offers many hiking trails, camping options, and excellent views of the Bay Area and east towards the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  It is no coincidence that Diablo is “Devil” in Spanish, an appropriate name for this lengthy and challenging East Bay bike climb.

There are 360 degree views from the visitor center and observation deck at the mountain’s summit.  

Bicycle climb Mt. Diablo - aerial drone panorama photo of visitor center and observation deck

There is a historic beacon tower and museum-like visitor center at this bicycle climb’s finish.  “Mount Diablo is the starting point for the establishment of land boundaries throughout most of Northern California and all of Nevada. The summit is the location of the "Initial Point," the north/south meridian, and east/west baseline intersection point that is the basis for most property boundaries” (see history article).  

Summit Road leading to Visitor Center and Beacon (view west)

Cycling and riding by bike Mt. Diablo - aerial drone photo of Summit Road, visitor center, beacon and observation deck

View of the summit from drone to the southwest of the summit.

Cycling Mt. Diablo - cyclist on bike riding past summit sign - visitor center and beacon   

Summit sign, Visitor Center Parking Lot and Beacon.

Standard Oil Beacon -- activated 1928; now lit once a year on December 7.

Cycling Visitor Center - Visitor center and historic light beacon

The observation deck and beacon tower.

Exceptional views from the summit.

Cycling Mt. Diablo - Shiloh Wind Power Plant as seen from Mt. Diablo observation tower

Northeast view of Shiloh Wind Power Plant -- Birds Landing.

Bicycle ride up Mt. Diablo - Summit Road - Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Tamalpais

Golden Gate Bridge center top

 Mt. Tamalpais is the bump on the mountain range upper center-right.

WELCH CREEK ROAD

Bike climb Welch Creek Road - one lane road sign, roadway and oak trees

Cycling Welch Creek Road

Ride 3.8 miles to elevation 2,233 gaining 2,021’ at 9.5%

This is a fairly remote East Bay climb that travels through the Sunol Regional Wilderness Area. We are on a one lane road the entire climb that has very little traffic on it.  Most of the climb is through Coal Mine Canyon and has a canopy of tree coverage much of the way.  There are no distant views along this climb other than briefly at the top.  This ascent is an attraction for its challenging grade (particularly 1.2 miles from mile 1.7 which averages 14.2%).   The roadway is single lane and has more the feel of a bike lane as it winds its way through the canyon to a locked gate where the road turns to dirt at the top.