John Muir: Nature Trail-Mt Wanda-JM Nat’l Historic Site Walk

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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*Take the Mount Wanda trail and enjoy views of the Carquinez Strait and surrounding hills. Coast live oak, blue oak and valley oak line the trail as it ascends the summit. Once at the top, Mount Diablo and the surrounding hills become visible. The more gradual John Muir Nature Trail provides views of Mount Diablo, the Carquinez Strait and Briones Park. On a clear day, you might also spot cows across the valley grazing in the sunshine. 

Begin this hike from the Park & Ride lot at the corner of Franklin Canyon Road and Alhambra Ave in Martinez. Take the dirt path at the north end of the lot towards Muir trestle-it leads to the John Muir NHSMt Wanda trailhead on Franklin Canyon Rd. Walk up the steps, turn left and enter thru the trail gate onto Mt Wanda trail.

The trail winds uphill on a moderate-steep grade under the beautiful oak woodlands with sounds of local traffic and views of the surrounding hills and residential communities.

The wide fire road climbs out from the dense tree cover to the dry grassy slopes.

At the Nature Trail junction-turn right onto the Nature Trail. It winds around the oak woodland with views of Diablo and the local refineries.

The single track trail continues around Mt Wanda on a gentle grade through the woodland to a small wooden bridge crossing.

The trail climbs uphill with views of the open grassland before cutting in and out of the woods to a trail junction.

It climbs out of Strenzel Creek watershed to the upper grassland area.

Grand views of Carquinez Strait & Suisun Bay!

At the unsigned trail split: turn right towards Mt Wanda.

At the next trail split: go left, the gentle rise takes you up and over to the summit.

Arrive at Mt Wanda’s summit-640 feet.

Enjoy the magnificent 360 degree views of the entire area! You can see the waters along Carquinez Strait, Suisun Bay and the Benicia-Martinez Bridge to the north. To the east, you’ll spot Mt Diablo and the Montezuma Hills. From south and west, take in the views of the hills around Las Trampas, San Pablo Ridge and Briones!

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Retrace your steps back to the trail split and turn right, it re-joins Mt Wanda Trail for the return to the parking lot.

Head north on Alhambra Ave to the John Muir National Historic Site at 4202 Alhmabra Ave, Martinez.

Enjoy the colorful murals underneath Hwy 4!

John Muir National Historic Site entrance.

*John Muir grew many different types of fruit and nut trees on his 2,600-acre ranch. The orchard is now only within the 9-acre park area, and is maintained by our park staff. During the year, many of our fruit trees produce fruit. While we allow visitors to take home a small amount of fruit, please be careful when picking a piece of fruit. Branches can be delicate. We like to leave enough fruit for all visitors, so please keep picking to a minimum.

Orchards and ground area:

John Muir House:

Attic & Bell Tower:

Carriage House:

Ground area:

Back orchards and ground area:

Martinez Adobe:

Exit the park area to the Franklin Canyon tunnel.

Cross the road and hike up and over the hill for the return to the Park & Ride lot.

*Explore the hills where John Muir hiked with his two daughters, Wanda and Helen on the Nature Trail and the Mt Wanda Trail. Complete the hike with a visit to the John Muir National Historic Site. Enjoy a picnic atop Mount Wanda or beneath the shade of redwood and pecan trees in John Muir’s historic orchards! It’s a wonderful way to spend  a morning or an afternoon! 

*http://www.jmlt.org/mt_wanda.html

Stats:
4.15 Miles with 643′ of elevation gain
max elevation: 644 feet
Time: 3 hours with multiple stops-includes tour of the JM Nat’l Historic Site
Hike: Easy-moderate with one long climb
Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranged from the high 60’s to the high 70’s with SW winds.

Parking: CalTrans Park & Ride lot at the corner of Franklin Canyon Rd and Alhambra Ave in Martinez. No Fee-No facilities
*Bring water & snacks. No facilities along the trails
John Muir Nat’l Historic Site: FREE ADMISSION. Water & restrooms at the Visitors Center
Dog Friendly-On-leash only

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Mt Wanda

Print-Mt Wanda map

JM Mt Wanda

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3 Comments

  1. Really cool site! Right in our ‘backyard’. I really like the murals under the overpass. Thanks, Nancy.

    Like

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