Friday, March 6, 2015
Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline comprises 1,415 acres of bluffs and shoreline along Carquinez Scenic Drive between the town of Crockett and the hillsides overlooking Martinez. This parkland provides a gateway to the river delta region along the northern edge of Contra Costa County. The coastal hills rise steeply up to 750 feet above Carquinez Strait. From the highest elevations the view includes the marshland of Benicia State Recreation Area to the north across Carquinez Strait.
The topography of this park consists of open, rolling grasslands, wooded ravines, eucalyptus-shaded meadows and river shoreline. Multi-purpose trails provide access to canyon views and ridgetop vistas. (http://www.ebparks.org/parks/carquinez)
Begin this hike from the Bull Valley Staging Area on Carquinez Scenic Dr in Crockett. Grab a map at the park information sign and enter through the gate, pass the pit toilet to the T junction. Turn right onto the unsigned Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail. The trail winds along the edge of the hill with sweeping views of the Carquinez Bridge and Benicia’s waterfront area.
Mile 0.14-at the unsigned junction: take the well-worn path that climbs up to the top of the ridge.
Enjoy the spectacular panoramic ridge top vistas!
The unmarked path continues along the hilltop grasslands and drops down towards the dense grove of eucalyptus trees.
Mile 0.43-at the unsigned junction: turn right onto the unsigned Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail. The trail cuts through the eucalyptus stands and emerges onto the open grasslands with beautiful views of the rolling hills around Franklin Ridge. Mile 0.58-at the unsigned junction: go left to stay on the Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail.
Mile 0.64-at the unsigned junction: turn right and drop down through the eucalyptus stands to the trail gate.
From this vantage point, you can see the extended eastern views of Mt Diablo, the hillside homes at Port Costa and the local refineries in Martinez! Turn around and retrace your steps through the trail gate to the unsigned trail junction.
Mile 1.02-at the unsigned junction: turn right and continue up the hill to the next junction at Mile 1.11. Turn right onto the Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail and head up to the top of the ridge. Mile 1.18-turn right for a stop at the Vista Overlook area.
Take a moment to enjoy the fabulous views of the strait!
Exit the overlook area and go straight towards the eucalyptus woods; the trails continues on a level grade through the forest to the grassy hillside.
The trail sweeps around the hill with phenomenal views of the Carquinez Bridge and Benicia.
Mile 1.82-at the unsigned junction near the trail gate: turn right onto the Bull Valley Trail. This trail leads down from the staging area to the trail gate at Eckley Pier.
Take a walk around the park and out to the pier; there is a water fountain and a Porta-potty.
Enjoy the close-up views from the shoreline!
Retrace your steps back up the hill on the Bull Valley Trail to the staging area parking lot.
You’ll enjoy this western section of the Carquinez Regional Shoreline; these short trails offers magnificent vistas overlooking Carquinez Strait between Crockett and Port Costa!
2.8 Miles with 418′ of elevation gain
Time: 1-1.5 hours with a couple of stops
Sunny and warm with temps in the mid 60’s
Parking: No fee-Pit toilet-No water. Water available at Eckley Pier.