Overall Route Rating
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4.17 out of 5 Rider Rating 4.17
7 Reviews

Mount Hamilton Loop

Motorcycle Route Author

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By MCR Contributor (952 McR Points) on Jul 29, 2011

Rider Reviews

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Guest
January 1, 2014
This was a great ride for slow, technical skill…
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Guest
May 12, 2012
The Mount Hamilton side is beautiful anytime of…
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Written Directions

Start out on Alum Rock Ave, near Highway 680 in San Jose (at 2227 Alum Rock Ave is A Bite of Wyoming coffee shop & restaurant - a good place to meet) Go NE on Alum Rock (which is route 130), toward the hills. Just as you get up into the hills, you'll see a sign for Mt. Hamilton Road (which is also route 130) directing you to the right. Take that right and you'll be climbing up all the way to the top on that same road. The Observatory is at the peak (see Amenities)Up and over the top, Mt. Hamilton Road changes into San Antonio Road (it's still Rte 130, the same road, though)until you get to the turnoff to the right (which is where Rte 130 continues into Patterson) and it changes into Mines Road. This is where you'll see The Junction Bar & Grill (Amenities again.) Stay on Mines until you drop down out of the mountains into Livermore. Left on Tesla Rd, left on Concannon Blvd, then left again onto Isabel Ave. (Rte 84) which will take you back to Highway 680. Go South on 680 back into San Jose and at Alum Rock Ave, you'll be back where you started.

Scenery

Scenery is fantastic! The route goes up a mountain then back down the other side, so you have an array of different landscapes you travel through: Meadows, forested areas, a bit of farmland, and the views as you ascend just keep getting better and better until you reach the top where you have a panoramic, 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Breath-taking!

Drive Enjoyment

The road quality gets 5 plus stars for the downhill section but I gave it an overall 4 because of some of the hazards (described ahead). It begins as steep and windy, then levels and smooths out as you descend down the back side. On the first leg (ascent) there are three things to watch out for. First is small amounts of fallen rock and gravel in the road, easily avoidable if you're not flying up the road. Second is the potholes. There are many and some are not easily seen until you're right on (or sometimes IN) them. Finally, watch out for the bicyclists. There are a LOT going up (slowly) and going down (sometimes approaching Mach 4!) Fortunately, being on a motorcycle makes it easier to share the (sometimes narrow) road with them.

Tourism Opportunities

There are only two amenities on the way up the mountain and then back down, and neither of them is a gas station, so fill up before you head up. At the top (and highly recommended) is the James Lick Observatory, where one could probably spend the better part of an entire day checking out all the displays they have to offer in the visitor center. The 30 minute tour is informative and interesting. The other landmark is The Junction Bar & Grill on the back side of the mountain. Good food, good people and a good place to grab a bite or just take a break.

Motorcycle Road Additional info

he peak of Mt. Hamilton is 4,196 feet, so it may get snow in the Winter. I suggest making this loop in the Spring or Summer, depending on your personal weather preference.

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Mount Hamilton Loop
Mount Hamilton Loop
Mount Hamilton Loop
Mount Hamilton Loop
Mount Hamilton Loop
Mount Hamilton Loop
Mount Hamilton Loop
Mount Hamilton Loop
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Guest
January 1, 2014
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring
This was a great ride for slow, technical skill. Definitely look out for many bicyclists, pot holes and sand on the other side, going toward Livermore
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4 riders found this road review useful
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Guest
May 12, 2012
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring
The Mount Hamilton side is beautiful anytime of year and you get a great view of the bay area. The road is clean and generally smooth, though there are a few pot holes along the double yellow light especially near the top. As long as you stay on your side of the road they are no trouble. The turns are often blind, with lots of tight right hand switchbacks. Lots of cyclists to watch out for.

The San Antonio / Mines side, wow! I just rode that side for the first time today, it's very very good. Can't wait to do it again. Older surface but holding up really well, sweeping smooth radius turns. An absolute joy to ride. There are about 6 cattle guard crossings, the first is near the exit of a turn the rest are on straights.
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3 riders found this road review useful
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safetymatt
May 7, 2012
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Touring
I start at the Livermore side going south on Mines road but the route is basically the same. The only difference is that once I get into San Jose on 130 I go north on Piedmont blvd. to Calaveras road which returns me to Highway 84 without hitting any freeway. It is about 5 miles further and the twisties are great the whole way.
Look on the map for the Clalveras Resavoir to see what the road profile looks like.
All in all it makes for a terrific day on two wheels.
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3 riders found this road review useful