Point Pinole: Bay View-Pinole Point Pier-Owl Alley-Giant Station Trail Hike

Thursday, June 11, 2015

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The journey is as scenic as the destination at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, a parkland right next to densely populated Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo. Trails lead through breezy meadows with wildflowers in season, through aromatic eucalyptus woods, or along bluffs and beaches on San Pablo Bay. There are beautiful views of Mt. Tamalpais, the Marin shoreline, and San Pablo Bay with its sailboat and shipping traffic. (http://www.ebparks.org/parks/pt_pinole)

This State Historic Landmark is former home to the Giant and Atlas Powder Companies and the site of the town of Giant. The powder companies manufatured black powder, dynamite and nitroglcerine fron 1880 to 1960. The now quiet point offers 2315 acres of shoreline, marshes, grassland and shady eucalyptus groves. Explore more than 10 miles of easy hiking and paved multi-use trails while enjoying the beautiful vistas and rest spots.( Point Pinole informational panel)

Begin this hike from the Point Pinole parking lot-head north on the main road to Paul Badger Bridge.

At the first trail junction: turn left onto Bay View Trail. The flat terrain goes along the western shores around Point Pinole with gorgeous panoramic views of Pt Richmond to the south, Mt Tamalpais, China Camp State Park and Marin County to the west.

Views of Parchester Marsh area!

Wildflowers along the shoreline trail!

Mile 0.8-*Optional-turn left and take the well worn path towards the beach area for scenic stop. We let Shadow run and play along the shoreline-she loved it!

Continue north along the beach for a tenth of a mile and turn right onto the beach access trail, it will lead you back onto Bay View Trail.


Mile 0.9- at the trail junction: turn left onto Bay View Trail. The trail takes you though the fragrant eucalyptus groves as it gently ascends above the shoreline cliffs. You’ll come across multiple trail junctions-go straight and stay on Bay View Trail.

Sit a spell on the vista benches, enjoy the cool breeze and admire the San Pablo Bay views and high bluffs!

Some wildflowers!

Bay View Trail continues along the eucalyptus forest and grassland with great views of the bay!

Mile 1.7-at the trail junction: go straight and follow the single track trail along the fence line to see the remnants of the old Giant dynamite blast & burning bunker. (a right turn leads you down to the picnic area adjacent to the pier)

The trail continues along Pinole Point to the vista overlook-sit and enjoy the view of the old and new pier! The trail drops down to the picnic area next to the pier.

Hang a left and take a walk out along the pier. Note: dogs are not allowed on the pier.

Enjoy the splendid San Pablo Bay views!

Exit the pier and return on the main road towards the picnic area and shuttle stop.


Mile 2.5-at the traffic circle: *Optional-turn left and take the unmarked path along the berry bushes and eucalyptus trees down to the driftwood shoreline. We let Shadow run and play around the water.

Make your way back up from the cove to the unmarked trail: turn left, this will lead you onto Owl Alley Trail. Turn left at Owl Alley Trail; this takes you along the east side of the point with superb views of Whittell Marsh area. On a clear day, you can catch views of the north Bay, including Napa, Vallejo, the Carquinez Bridge and San Pablo Bay!

Owl Alley Trail continues south pass a fresh water pond to the bench at the Marsh Trail junction. * Optional-turn left onto Marsh Trail for a scenic loop around marshes to Cooks Point Trail. ( we couldn’t do this loop-no dogs allowed on the Marsh Trail)


Stay on Owl Alley Trail to the Park Office and maintenance yard.

Mile 3.4-at the Cooks Trail junction: turn right onto Cooks Trail and cut across the open grassland to Giant Station Trail.

Mile 3.6-at the Giant Station Trail junction; turn left onto Giant Station Trail. The trail takes you under the shady scented eucalyptus grove towards the huge picnic areas with a children’s play section, volleyball court, horseshoe pit and large lawn areas.

Cross the bridge back to the parking lot.

This is a fabulous flat hike that goes around the perimeter of Point Pinole with phenomenal views of San Pablo Bay and beyond! You’ll enjoy the easy access to the western shoreline and high bluffs at the north end of the point near the pier. This is a great place to escape the hot inland weather-come and feel the cool breeze and fog from the bay! For those with great patience-get a day’s worth of fishing along the pier and bring your catch home for dinner!

Wildflowers seen on the trails: smooth hawksbeard, wild radish, mustard, broadleaf filaree, morning glory, purple vetch, dandelion, geranium, salsify, california poppy, sunflower, ithuriel’s spear, bush monkeyflower, yarrow, poison oak, yellow tarweed, cattail, himalayan blackberry, davy centaury and chicory-blue sailors

4.2 Miles with 183′ of elevation gain
Time: 2 hours with doggy beach time
Hike: Easy
Parking: Point Pinole Regional Park parking lot. $3 Fee collected when kiosk is attended on weekends and major holidays.
Water & Pit toilets around the picnic areas
Dog Friendly with On-Off Leash areas-$2 Dog Fee collected when kiosk is attended on weekends and major holidays.
*Dogs not allowed on or around the marshes along Bay View Trail and Marsh Trail and on the pier.

Weather: Sunshine and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the mid to high 70’s with NW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Point Pinole

Print Trail Map

Check shuttle service schedule and fees

*Blue line-extend hike by ~half mile with additional loop along Marsh Trail to Cooks Point Trail. Dogs not allowed on Marsh Trail.

Point Pinole 2

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