Carquinez: Hulet Hornbeck-Franklin Ridge Loop Trail Hike

Tuesday, November 17, 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. From atop Franklin Ridge along the Franklin Ridge Loop Trail and the California Riding and Hiking Trail, the horizon is pierced by the peaks of Mt. Tamalpais to the west and Mt. Diablo to the east. Looking south from this high point are the ridges of Briones and Las Trampas regional parks.

This hike takes you up for a scenic loop around Franklin Ridge via the Hulet Hornbeck/CA Riding & Hiking Trails and Franklin Loop Trail. The rolling terrain along the ridge provides panoramic views of Carquinez Strait, Suisun Bay, Mt Diablo and southern Solano County!

Start this hike at Franklin Canyon Rd; the tunnel between the colorful murals leads to the Hulet Hornbeck trail head.

As you exit the tunnel, make an immediate left turn onto Hulet Hornbeck Trail; the trail begins with a moderate climb out of the canyon to the first cattle gate.

Hulet Hornbeck Trail continues to climb along the park boundary fence line to the next cattle gate.

The rolling hills provides views of Hwy 4, the Franklin Hills, Susuin Bay, Mt Diablo and our local refineries!

The trail winds around the scenic hills dotted with grazing cattle.

At the unsigned trail split-go right to stay on Hulet Hornbeck Trail. The trail continues uphill through the grassland towards the transmission towers.

Hulet Hornbeck Trail travels along the rolling ridge to the another cattle gate.

Enjoy the panoramic view!


Go straight at the trail junction to stay on Hulet Hornbeck; it gently winds around the golden hills before tilting up to a climb towards the cattle barn.

At the high point; pause for a moment to take in the splendid views of Carquinez Strait, the Mothball Fleet in Suisun Bay and the Benicia-Martinez Bridge! You can even see the snow capped Sierra Mountain Range!

At the hiking sign-go left to stay on Hulet Hornbeck; it continues rolling along the grassy ridge before dropping down to a cattle gate.

Enjoy the grand vistas!

At the Rankin Park Trail junction-go straight stay on Hulet Hornbeck; it takes you up and over the hill towards the Franklin Ridge Loop Trail.

Turn right at the T junction onto Franklin Ridge Loop Trail; the broad multi-use trail winds down and around the hills with ridgetop vistas!

The trail levels out along the ridge with three spurs heading out to the scenic view point areas.

Panoramic view of Carquinez Strait and beyond!


Franklin Ridge Loop drops down from the open ridge towards the wooded canyon.

The steep descent leads to the trail junction with Carquinez Scenic Dr.

At the T junction-turn left to stay on Franklin Ridge Loop; the trail meanders along a seasonal creek through a gorgeous shady oak/bay woodland.

The lost elevation is quickly regained with a steep climb back up towards the ridge.

At the Park Boundary junction-go left to stay on Franklin Ridge Loop; the trail winds around and through the grassy hillsides to the next trail junction.

Go left to stay on Franklin Ridge Loop-the trail goes uphill before dropping down to the Hulet Hornbeck junction.

At this junction-turn right and retrace your steps on the Hulet Hornebck Trail for a stop at the vista overlook bench.

Return along the rolling hills on Hulet Hornbeck Trail.

Scenic views along Hulet Hornbeck Trail.

Panoramic Views!



Travel along the ridge back to the first cattle gate.

Steep descent on Hulet Hornbeck Trail back to the tunnel at Franklin Canyon Rd.

*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.

This fabulous hike around Franklin Ridge rises to a high point at 688 feet, it may seem low as far as hills go but it’s high enough to provide spectacular panoramic views of Carquienz Strait, Mt Diablo, Suisun Bay, Benicia and beyond! Rise to the occasion and hit the trails!


Stats:6.87 Miles with 1962′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 688′
Time: 2.75 hours with a few stops
Hike: Moderate with steep climbs and descents
Parking: Free street parking on Franklin Canyon Rd
No amenities along the trails
Dog Friendly
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks

Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to high 60’s with N winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Franklin Ridge

Print Carquinez Regional Shoreline Trail Map

Franklin Ridge 2


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