The Three Bears

Description: The Three Bears is a standard East Bay route. The Berkeley Hills Road Race takes place on this loop. The Three Bears refers to the section on Bear Creek Road which has three climbs called Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. From Alhambra Valley Road, Mama Bear is first, Baby Bear is in the middle, and Papa Bear is last (at least that's my interpretation).

The ride has three big climbs: Mama Bear, Papa Bear (both on Bear Creek Road), and Wilddcat on the way back. It also features one of the fastest, most wide open descents in the East Bay coming down Papa Bear. Speeds of 45-50 mph are easily attainable. San Pablo Dam Road between Wildcat and Castro Ranch Road is fast with wide shoulders, but often has strong headwinds and crosswinds which make it more difficult. Alhambra Valley Road is especially scenic with light traffic and only small rollers. Note that this ride usually begins at Spruce and Virginia, not Sproul Plaza.

Distance: 35.21 miles
Climbing: 4482 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 2-2.5 hrs.

Three Bears Map

Mile 0.0 - Spruce and Virginia. Start climbing up Spruce.

Mile 2.05 - At five-way intersection, continue straight onto Wildcat Canyon. The road winds gently up to Inspiration Point.

Mile 5.49 - Inspiration Point. The Wildcat Canyon descent starts here. This is a fun technical descent, but watch out for the 15 mph left turns.

Mile 7.96 - Turn left on San Pablo Dam Rd. Thus we enter the Three Bears loop. This is a fast road which tends downward. However, there is a lot a traffic so stick to the shoulder.

Mile 13.33 - Turn right on Castro Ranch Rd. There are a couple of short steep rises.

Mile 15.56 - Turn right on Alhambra Valley Rd. This is a pleasant rolling road with almost no traffic.

Mile 18.29 - Turn right on Bear Creek Rd. and get ready to tackle the Bears.

Mile 20.35 - That was Mama Bear.

Mile 20.96 - That was Baby Bear.

Mile 23.61 - That was Papa Bear. After a short bump, tuck in for a super fast descent.

Mile 26.75 - Go straight onto Wildcat Canyon for the climb back to Berkeley. This intersection is where we exit the Three Bears loop.

Mile 32.63 - At the 5-way intersection, head left on Grizzly Peak to descend via Euclid.

Mile 35.21 - Spruce and Virginia. End of ride.