Bear Creek Trail meanders through a lush and flourishing little forest between the Briones Reservoir and Bear Creek road. The sounds of the waterbirds that are naturally attracted to Briones are loud and distinct. Occasionally, a car drives by on Bear Creek road, but you can settle in to an easy and relaxing pace that will minimize distractions. The trail has a slight upgrade if you start from the Bear Creek Staging area, which I recommend. You can park at the Bear Creek Staging area, and walk to the Overlook Staging area, returning back on the same trail. The roundtrip hike is 6 miles long.
The trail is filled with thick and mossy Bay Laurels, and powerful sprawling oaks. Deeper in, old twisted and mysterious Madrones make an appearance. Giant moss and lichen covered boulders jut out from the hillsides. High above Briones, you'll get a full view of the reservoir, and may even notice practicing rowers.
Spring is a great time to hike this trail. The moss is bright and strong, giant sword ferns reach out and tangle with the colorful wildflowers that appear in the more well lit areas of the forest.
Bear Creek Trail is part of the San Pablo Reservoir Recreation Area. You will need a permit to hike here, and you can get it here.
More information about the San Pablo Reservoir Recreation Area (Trail Maps, fees, etc.)