Livermore Valley: Blazing Trails

This friendly wine region is finally getting the attention it deserves. Today, Livermore Valley is home to more than 50 wineries that have set the bar high for quality.

Published: 3/21/2018

HOP ON BART in San Francisco, head 30 miles east, and you’ll find yourself in a friendly wine region that’s finally getting the attention it deserves. Planted to vineyards since the 1840s, Livermore Valley is credited with putting California on the world wine map when one of its wines won America’s first international gold medals at the 1889 Paris Exposition. Today, Livermore Valley is home to more than 50 wineries that have set the bar high for quality. It’s hard to believe that such a beautiful, natural setting is so easy to reach from San Francisco. The towns of the Livermore Valley and greater Tri-Valley area (Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, and Danville) welcome visitors with a proper dose of American charm, but they also have stuff happening—probably because many hip urban folks have opted to put down roots here as they raise their families. With each passing month there are more events, restaurants, cafés, galleries, theaters, and shops to discover, and some cool trails to blaze.

WINE TRAILS

The wineries of Livermore Valley are located in clusters. Beyond the traditional car and limousine, look into your cycling options. If you start early enough, you can catch the sun rising over the Tesla Road vineyards. This country thoroughfare is also a good choice for hiking, because it’s home to several wineries, including Wente Vineyards, located just past the turnoff to Mines Road. Or plan a tasting hike along bucolic Greenville Road. The Livermore Valley Wine Trolley is a less strenuous option. Reserve an all-inclusive wine tour complete with a guide and lunch.

BEER TRAILS

Beer has a history in the region too. Before Prohibition, the area was one of the nation’s largest hops producers. In fact, there is now an official Tri-Valley Beer Trail map connecting a growing collection of 21 craft breweries, taprooms, and restaurants. New breweries and taprooms are popping up everywhere, and more beer festivals are in the works. Follow the Beer Trail map on your own or find a tour. The Blue Brew Bus now offers the Livermore Brew Tour, which includes pick-up and drop-off service at the downtown Livermore and Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations, beer tasting at three craft breweries, a tour of one of the facilities, and discounts.

HIKING TRAILS

Livermore Valley is surrounded with great places to hike and enjoy lofty views. There’s an entrance to Mount Diablo State Park in Danville. The park’s trail system is extensive, and the views from the top of Mount Diablo are stunning. Head for the observation deck, which sits atop the Summit Museum at an elevation of 3,849 feet for views as far as 200 miles. In south Livermore, Sycamore Grove Park was once home to a winery. The western portion of the park is hillier. One trail ascends 1,000 feet to reveal a fantastic view of Livermore and Cresta Blanca.

ICE CREAM TRAILS

Housemade Italian gelato, frozen custard, soft serve ice cream, handcrafted ice cream rolls, root beer floats, milk shakes, frappés, Italian ice, sherbet, shaved ice, matcha floats, gelato cakes, sundaes, and frozen yogurt! No matter what new trail you blazed today it’s good to know where to find the region’s burgeoning assortment of frozen treats in flavors ranging from traditional to totally out-of-the-box. Try as many as you dare along the Tri-Valley Ice Cream Trail. For a downloadable map, see visittrivalley.com

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As seen in the issue Spring 2018 of Touring & Tasting Magazine.

With each passing month there are more events, restaurants, cafés, galleries, theaters, and shops to discover, and some cool trails to blaze.