Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Today’s mixed terrain route goes up along Franklin Canyon to the gentle climb up McEwen Rd. It continues down into Port Costa to the Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail; the short fire trail segment of this route. It exits onto the Bull Valley Staging Area for the short drop down to Eckley Pier. The return along Carquinez Scenic Dr includes the run along the edge of the Crockett to Crockett Blvd for the climb up to Cummings Skwy.
We exit Holiday Highlands Park and meander through the city streets of Martinez to Alhambra Ave and Franklin Canyon Rd.
Franklin Canyon Rd runs 3.6 gentle miles along a quiet canyon through a small community with horse and cattle ranches, vineyards and residential ranch homes and farm houses.
The climb up the east side of McEwen Rd is a gentle 1.1 mile with an average grade of 4.2% followed by a steep descent onto Carquinez Scenic Dr.
We drop down Reservoir Rd into the small town of Port Costa.
The turn on Prospect Ave leads us up along the hillside homes to the Fire Trail at the end of the road.
The Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail is a wide packed dirt road that goes up to the top of the ridge of Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline. The climb is 0.6 mile with 6-8% grades.
Stop for a minute at the Overlook Area and enjoy the fabulous views of the waters around Carquinez Strait, the golden Crockett Hills, the Benicia-Martinez Bridge, Benicia waterfront and even Mt Diablo!
The trail continues west on flat terrain through the stands of eucalyptus trees.
It winds along the upper ridge and opens up to gorgeous views of the Carquinez Strait with spectacular views of the Carquinez Bridge and the shoreline along Benicia’s waterfront area!
We hop onto a short segment of the Bull Valley Trail to the exit gate at the Bull Valley Staging Area.
From the paved road, we drop down to Eckley Pier; they a nice little grassy picnic area with a water fountain. The restroom is closed but there is a Porta-potty located at the pier.
Take a walk out along the pier and take in the views of the surrounding areas along the Carquinez Strait.
There is a short steep climb out of Eckley Pier to the Bull Valley Staging Area; it’s 0.4 mile with 9-15% grades.
We continue along Carquinez Scenic Dr to the scenic jaunt into Crockett along Winslow St and Loring Ave.
This stretch around town offers close-up views of the older brick and wooden buildings and the C & H Sugar plant. Rolph Ave leads us pass the Crockett Community Center and John Swett High School to Ponoma Ave.
The climb up Crockett Blvd is 1.9 miles with an average grade of 5.2% and steeper pitches 7-9% grades. The road cuts through Crocket Hills Regional Park to Cummings Skwy.
We head east on Cummings Skwy; this road runs along the top of the ridge with great views of the rolling Crocket Hills to Franklin Canyon Rd.
We descend Franklin Canyon Rd for 4.3 miles to Alhambra Ave.
The return on Alhambra Ave takes us back to Vine Hill Way; it’s a short half mile climb up to Morello Ave from John Muir Rd.
Center Ave, Glacier Dr and Arnold Dr leads us back to Holiday Highlands Park.
This slight variation of our backyard ride is quite scenic with grand views of the Carquinez Strait. This route is also do-able on a road bike; it’s short in distance but packed with a decent amount of elevation gain. A mid-morning start will still leave you with plenty of time in the afternoon to do something else.
27.70 Miles with 2379′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 696′
Max grade: 15%
Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from 68F to an afternoon high of 91F. NW winds with 31% humidity
Follow this route for today’s ride: