Monday, April 6, 2015
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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)
This hike heads out on Bull Valley Trail to the mid section of Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline between Port Costa and the outskirts of Martinez. The dead end trails lead to scenic views around Point Carquinez, Carquinez Strait, Mt Diablo and Franklin Ridge. Return west along Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail to the staging area.
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 unsigned trail junction.
Mile 0.07-Turn right onto Bull Valley Trail-the trail reveals dramatic views of Carquinez Strait, Carquienz Bridge and Benicia.
Mile 0.1-at the unsigned fork in the road: turn right to stay on Bull Valley Trail towards Port Costa. Enjoy the views of the gorgeous green Franklin Hills along Franklin Ridge!
Mile 0.3-the trail goes around the bend towards the eucalyptus stands and continues through the grassy hillside.
The trail narrows as it follows the park boundary fence line along the north edge of Port Costa’s residential homes to the trail gate at Prospect Ave.
Mile 0.7-exit the trail and turn right onto Prospect Ave.
Mile 0.8-turn left onto Canyon Lake Dr for the neighborhood stroll out to the small commercial district and waterfront area at Port Costa.
Vintage buildings line the main street of town.
Old dock area and RR tracks along Carquinez Strait.
Turn around, head west on Canyon Lake Dr towards Reservoir St and take in the sights around this small community.
Mile 1.2-turn left onto Reservoir St to the park trailhead at the south end of town.
Mile 1.3-enter through the trail gate and turn left onto the fire road. This section of the hike goes out and back along several dead-end unnamed trails. The trail rolls along the hillside with great views of Port Costa and its surrounding park lands.
Mile 1.5-the trail rounds the hill and climbs up towards the cattle pen at the top of the ridge near the George Miller Trail. The trail levels out to the next trail split.
Mile 1.8-at the unsigned trail junction: turn right and head down towards the George Miller Trailhead. Mile 1.9-turn left and follow the road through the grasslands to the park boundary at the gated end of the trail.
Turn around and retrace your steps back towards the George Miller Trailhead. Mile 2.3-at the unsigned trail junction: go straight and continue across the open grasslands.
Enjoy the fabulous panoramic views of the rolling hills around Franklin Ridge and Mt Diablo!
Mile 2.4-the trail ascends around the bend eastward with gorgeous views of Carquinez Strait and Port Costa!
The trail levels out as you continue straight towards the lone tree along the side of the road.
Mile 2.6-at the unsigned trail junction: turn left-the trail winds around the stock pond for a gentle climb up to the top of the ridge.
Mile 2.8-Arrive at ridge top overlook area above Point Carquinez.
Enjoy the panoramic views of Benicia, Carquinez Strait, the Benicia-Martinez Bridge, Suisun Bay, Mt Diablo and Franklin Ridge!
Turn around and retrace your steps back down the hill to the trail gate off Reservoir St to Canyon Lake Dr and Prospect Ave.
Mile 4.0-left turn onto Prospect Ave; This paved road leads up to Port Costa’s hillside neighborhood.
Mile 4.1-go straight to the end of the road and continue on the fire trail.
The trail winds out of town into the parklands with views of Carquinez Strait.
Mile 4.2-at the unsigned trail split-turn left, continue through the trail gate and follow the trail along the eucalyptus trees to the next trail split.
Mile 4.4-at the unsigned trail junction: turn right and go uphill towards the Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail. Mile 4.5-turn right at the unsigned trail junction onto the Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail and follow the trail through the eucalyptus groves.
The trail emerges out of the woods and continues along the hillside with extended views of Carquienz Strait, Benicia and the Carquinez Zampa Bridge!
Continue on the trail and return to the Bull Valley Staging Area parking lot.
This is a beautiful scenic leisurely hike around Port Costa and the park lands at Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline. The trails wind through eucalyptus and oaks with spectacular panoramic views of the blue water and the Franklin Hills along Franklin Ridge! You’ll enjoy the beauty of the rolling hills and shoreline along Carquinez Strait from Port Costa to Martinez.
5.3 Miles with 670′ of elevation gain
Time: 2 hours with a couple of stops
Partly cloudy skies with temps ranging from the mid to high 50’s. Breezy SW winds.
Parking: No fee. Pit toilet-No water.
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