Two Bridges-Lake Herman-Carquinez Scenic Dr

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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This counter clock wise loop crosses over Carquinez Strait on the Benicia-Martinez Bridge Trail for a ride along Lake Herman Rd to Lake Herman. The route continues west through the city streets of Vallejo to the Carquinez Bridge Trail onto Crockett. The route includes a beautiful jaunt along the newly repaved and re-opened Carquinez Scenic Dr into Martinez.

We head north on Morello Ave to the outskirt of town on Pacheco Blvd towards the refinery on Shell Ave.

Mococo Rd leads us onto the Benicia-Martinez Bridge Trail; it crosses Carquinez Strait with scenic views of the blue waterway and Franklin Hills. The path climbs for about a mile with an average grade of 4% followed by a quick descent onto Park Rd in Benicia.

Park Rd goes pass the Benicia Historical Museum and drops down through Valero Refinery to Benicia’s Industrial Park area on Industrial Way.

While riding along Industrial Way, you can catch a whiff of the sugary goodness from the Cytomax sports nutrition products being manufactured at Cytosport-it smells like artificial cotton candy! The road wonderful views of the diminishing Mothball Fleet at Suisun Bay and the marshlands along Goodyear Slough.

Lake Herman Rd takes us across I-680 onto rolling terrain to Lake Herman Recreation Area. This back road runs 5.5 miles from the east end in Benicia to the west end in Vallejo with views of the soft golden rolling hills and a glimpse of the local refineries.

We make a brief stop at Lake Herman.

Lake Herman Rd continues west for a short half mile climb up to the ranch at Sky Valley.

The road levels out for a short bit before climbing up for the next 0.6 mile with gradient ranges of 4-6%.

Lake Herman Rd eases up with lesser grades of 3-4% up to the quarry at Syar Industries.

The road continues to the outskirt of Vallejo onto Columbus Pkwy. Columbus Pkwy drops down along the edge of Vallejo into Benicia.

We make a brief stop at the Rose Center Starbuck’s in Benicia.

Benicia Rd goes pass St Patrick-St Vincent High School to All Souls Catholic Cemetery at Glen Cove Rd.

Glen Cove Rd crosses over I-780 to the Beverly Hills residential neighborhood on Fulton Ave and Magazine St in Vallejo. We take 5th St to Sequoia and Maritime Academy Dr.

The Carquinez Bridge Trail off Maritime Academy Dr leads us across the Zampa Carquinez Bridge towards Crockett. The trail offers fantastic views of Mare Island and the blue waters along Carquinez Strait out to San Pablo Bay.

The Carquinez Bridge Trail exits onto San Pablo Ave; the name changes to Pomona St as it enters Crockett.

Pomona St is the main road through the town of Crockett; it goes pass the small downtown area to the high school and the local community center. The road ascends through the residential neighborhood for less than a mile with an average grade of 4.4% up to the Veterans Memorial.

After passing Baldwin Ave, the road becomes Carquinez Scenic Dr; this county back road links West and Central Contra Costa County from Crockett to Martinez. It stretches 7 miles along the Carquinez Regional Shoreline with incredible vistas! The road sits above the Carquinez Strait with magnificent views of the scenic blue waters, coastal hills, Benicia and the Two Bridges; Carquinez Zampa and the Benicia Martinez.

The previous washed-out and cracked pavement on the 1.7 mile trail segment between Port Costa and Martinez has been totally revamped! The park district did a fantastic job of converting the old county road into a first-class hiking and riding trail with improved access to the open hills and shoreline. The cracked pavement has been removed and replaced by a 9-10 foot wide paved trail with shoulders on each side. The section where the road barely hung off the hill has been rebuilt and protected from future slides by tall pilings driven into the steep bluffs at several locations. There are sections of poured concrete platforms which looks like footings for future interpretive trail signs.

From Crockett, Carquinez Scenic Dr twists and turns around the shoreline and gently climbs up to the high point of Bush Hill at Carquinez Strait Bull Valley Staging Area.

The road quickly descends into Big Bull Valley at Port Costa ; currently Carquinez Scenic Dr between Canyon Lake Dr & McEwen Rd is closed for road construction.

We follow the detour signs into Port Costa on Canyon Lake Dr and take Reservoir St back up to Carquinez Scenic Dr. Reservoir St is a short shaded climb on a narrow single lane road with gradient ranges of 7-11%.  

Carquinez Scenic Dr continues east on gentle ascending terrain to the next high point at the new trail gate. The road descends around the Franklin Hills to Little Bull Valley.

The new 1.7 mile trail segment begins at the Little Bull Valley trail gate; the twist and turns take you along the shoreline with spectacular views of Carquinez Strait!

The road narrows at some sections with several blind curves and rolls through the oak woodlands to the trail gate in Martinez.

Carquinez Scenic Dr continues on rolling terrain through the shaded woodlands before dropping down to the lower trail gate at John Nejedley Staging Area.

Enjoy the views of Carquinez Strait!

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There is a short 6-7% climb from the lower gate up towards the Alhambra & Catholic Cemeteries.

Escobar St takes us through the north edge of Martinez near the old Downtown Area to the Martinez Museum and  along the backside of the Contra Costa County Superior Court. The road becomes Marina Vista Ave on its way towards the Shell Refinery and continues along the SP RR tracks.

We take Shell Ave to Pacheco Blvd and return on Morello Ave to Midhill and Fig Tree Ln.

Come on out and ride this fabulous loop-the rolling terrain along the newly paved trail on Carquinez Scenic Dr is simply wonderful! The 1.7 mile segment is not open to thru traffic which of course makes it double the fun!

Garmin Stats:
35.82 Miles with 2444′ of elevation gain

Max elevation: 363′
Max grade: 9%
Terrain: Some hills-rolling terrain

Weather: Sunny and cool with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the mid 60’s. SE Winds with 63% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile

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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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