Hiking Stats as of 11/11/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Dec 9, 2013 - Briones Peak / Mott Peak


Partners: (None)

Distance: 5.27 miles

Elevation Gain: 905 feet

Trip Time: 1:28

Maps and Stats:
There are many peak lists that I am currently working on, with each list of varying difficulty. The list with the easiest peaks is the California Coastal Peaks List, a collection of approximately 300 peaks in the mountains west of the Sierra. I am currently working on this "CC" list as a long-term objective, however, the dubious nature of some of the peaks simply do not merit (at least not yet) a dedicated trip just to climb one. I had climbed 18 of the CC peaks (primarily by accident as I was already climbing the peak only to discover it was a CC peak later). Briones Peak, an easy hike from Martinez, would give me an easy path to CC number 19.

Because I didn't want to to dedicate a full day to driving the hour over to Martinez just for Briones, I had been saving it for an occasion when I would be in the neighborhood. Such an opportunity presented itself on a cold Monday morning, as I had an appointment at the Contra Costa County offices first thing in the morning. My plan was to follow that meeting with a quick hike up Briones, having packed a lunch to give me an extra hour to play with for my return to work in the afternoon. Through the power of Google Maps, I saw that the Briones Road appeared to offer the quickest and most direct approach to the peak. I arrived at the TH a little after 11 AM and set off for the quick hike.

The well-defined trail started off in the cover of the trees, but before long turned into one of those Bay Area hikes that I am not all that fond of - a wide open road with no shade and brown grasses on the sides of the trail to keep me company. Doing this in the middle of summer would be brutal, but the Bay Area had seen freezing temperatures overnight and the sun was not powerful enough to even melt the icy puddles alongside the trail. This made for comfortable conditions as I wound my way up towards Briones Peak. I ran into several other hikers in the 30 minutes it took me to get to the top, and I imagine I looked a bit odd, as I had not taken the time to change anything except for my shoes for the hike. An obvious use trail spurs off of the main trail leading to the summit, and I was on top by 11:40 AM.

The views from the top were okay, with the exception of the view of Diablo which was spectacular. I took a rather lame summit photo and began to head down. On the way down I noted another peak on the other side of the trail that I had come up - I did a quick search on my iPhone and found it to be Mott Peak. I was making such good time that I figured I could bag Mott too (although it is not included on any hiking lists that I have ever heard of). I made my way back down to the trail junction, and started back up the opposite hillside. This side was equally easy, and I was on top of the high point at 12:08 PM. I took a few summit shots, with the best being the view back towards Briones Peak with Diablo in the distance. With a total lack of trees on top, I also had a nice view south which was blocked when I was on Briones.

For some reason, this highpoint that I was on was actually not the "named" Mott Peak - that was a bump a quarter mile to the south. So I crossed under the fence and jogged over to the names summit of Mott Peak. I left Mott at 12:14 PM and jogged back down to the TH, arriving a few minutes after 12:30. The trip took a few minutes longer than I had hoped, but nothing that couldn't be made up with a fast drive back to work. The day's total was a bit over 5.25 miles, with under 1,000 feet of elevation gain, all done in a little under 90 minutes.

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