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Calaveras Reservoir

This road ride is a 79 mile loop from Saratoga past Calaveras Reservoir to Fremont.

Calaveras Reservoir Route
Calaveas Elevation
Calaveras View
Ride: Calaveras Reservoir
Date: 10/4/2015
Distance: 79 miles
Ride Time: ~ 5 hours
Total Ascent: 3,122 feet
Map: See GPS track
Overall Rating: 7


Calaveras Reservoir is a reservoir maintained by the San Francisco Water Department in the East Bay foothills east of Milpitas. Since there are very few houses and no business out there, there is very little weekend traffic but there may be construction trucks on the roads during the week through 2018 since the dam is being replaced.  There is lots of visible construction but not too much gravel and dust usually associated with heavy construction.

My ride started with a trip across Silicon Valley.  I eventually ended up on Tasman, passing Cisco and the jail to turn left onto Abel St. This route avoids heavy traffic through Milipitas on Calaveras Road.  Abel turns into Jacklin which turns into Evans which will take you to the rural part of Calaveras on the the left. There is a little climbing on Evans which serves as a warm-up for Calaveras, where the climbing starts in earnest. Climb up past Ed Levin Park, the golf course, Spring Valley park and Weller Rd. Turn left (up hill) at the Felter Road junction to stay on Calaveras. This is the steepest part of the climb and you will just have to down shift and gut it out to the top. Since this is completely in the sun, I suspect this could be very difficult on a hot day.

The top provides a bit of a breather as it rolls up and down through the hills until you are at about the middle of the reservoir. From there on, it is a downhill ride with much of the ride in the shade of the surrounding oak trees.

I took a 2 mile detour out to the Sunol-Ohlone park. Technically, this is Geary Road but it may be easier to just look for the signs. The park has a small visitors' center, assorted picnic tables and equestrian facilities. It is a nice place to stop for a bit of break, which is what I did.

Once back on Calaveras, it is a straight shot out to I-680.  After passing under the freeway, this become Highway 84/Niles Canyon Road. There is a small store at the Pleasanton-Sunol Road junction if you need it.

Just past this is the small, quaint town of Sunol. This is very short but worthwhile detour to see a small but nicely maintained town from yesteryear. Passing through the town takes you back out to the highway, so there is no reason not to visit the town.

Just as its name suggests, Niles Canyon Road goes through a canyon.  In many places, it is just wide enough for a creek, two sets of railroad track (one on each side) and the highway itself. This means that the highway can't be too wide, so the shoulder is narrow to non-existent in many parts. There is a 2 foot rumble strip in the center that allows cars to go by in either direction and it used a lot. The road is basically downhill, but the grade and turns mean that you are still traveling much slower than the motorized traffic.  I recommend keeping your wits about you on this road. The road goes from Sunol, through the country, into Fremont, into Union City and back into Fremont before ending at Mission Blvd. in Fremont at the old town of Niles.

Rather than ride on the busy Mission Blvd (aka Highway 238), I chose to cross over the creek and take the Alameda Creek Trail. This is a paved trail along the creek. In honesty, it is not too special but would be a good place for families or young couples on a date to have an easy ride. There were no signs and to obvious entry/exit points along here. I was looking for a large street but only found a series of courts that ended at the trail with fences that had no gates.  I finally found one that had an unlocked gate. Later I found that there may be a paved exit a bit farther down, but I didn't remember that detail and thought I would be able to see the street from the trail.  Live and learn.

Once I got out to Paseo Padre, things were easy. Right on Stevenson and left on Fremont Blvd. You have to bear right to stay on Fremont Blvd. in Irvington (don't go up Washington). This will take you past the Tesla factory, over I-880 and through a large business park of high-tech companies. The road has recently been extended all the way to Dixon Landing Road, so I tried it out.

The trailhead for the Coyote Creek Trail (paved) is a little ways past the Dixon junction. This will get you off the road and all the way to Highway 237. I took the bike path on the north side of the highway down to Zanker after repairing a pinch flat I got on the bike path. I don't know how I can do all of the other parts of this ride and get a flat on this nothing section of trail, but it happened. From this point, I was on familiar ground and made my way back to the starting point.


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