Oursan Trail at Briones Reservoir

The two reservoirs managed by East Bay Mud, San Pablo Reservoir and Briones Reservoir, offer some beautiful canopied trails, views of the water, and a variety of terrain and wildlife.

A nice point to start hiking these trails is the Orinda Connector staging area, right off Camino Pablo, in Orinda, Ca. 

The Oursan Trail circles the north, east and west sides of Briones Reservoir.  You can do an out and back hike starting from any of the staging areas on the south side of the reservoir, or circle Briones if you are feeling strong and adventureous.  I started out at the Orinda Connector staging area.  It's a popular place for bikers to meet and park, so get there early for a parking spot.  Sign in with your permit number, and start on the trail immediatley to the right of the parking area.  

Keep right at the first split.  Going left will take you to Old San Pablo Trail along San Pablo Reservoir.  

You'll cross a bridge and hike through a pretty section filled with towering pines.  

When you get through this section, skip the fire road trail to your left, and continue on the single track trail. This will take you to the Briones Dam, and the continuation of the Oursan Trail.  

You'll pass through this gate, and you can see the road that leads up to the Dam.

You'll hike up a slight incline to reach the reservoir.  You'll see a sign to your right that will take you to the Bear Creek Trail, but keep to your left.  Cross the bridge over the Dam and enjoy the sight of the Briones Reservoir. 

This section is paved road.  Keep your eyes open for water birds, which are prevelent in both reservoirs.  Continue on this trail for as far as you want.  The trail circles the reservoir, but combined with the Bear Creek Trail would be a 12+ mile hike.  The reservoir is pretty and peaceful, and you can sit on the shore and watch the birds, or just enjoy the solitude.  

Further up on the Oursan Trail are nice hills, views and more solitude.  The trail is wide and rolling.  There are hills to climb and pleasant spots to rest and contemplate.