Point Pinole-Whittell Marsh Trail Hike

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

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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. 

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 manufactured black powder, dynamite and nitroglycerin from 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. *1

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 Bay View Trail along the western shore offords easy access to the shoreline, from the flat terrain in the south to the high bluffs nearer the pier-the only shoreline cliffs along this part of the Bay. This trail is part of the SF Bay Trail system, which rings the bay, and it offers views uninterrupted views of Pt Richmond to the south,  Mt Tamalpais, China Camp State Park and Marin County to the west. *1

Views of Parchester Marsh.

At the Beach Access junction, turn left and make your way down to the bay shoreline.

Head north along the rocky beach and walk through the beautiful giant pieces of driftwood strewn about the shoreline.

Concrete blocks, bricks and remnants of an old wooden pier appear along the secluded beach area.

The shoreline continues northward towards the pier.

The single track trail leads up to the scenic bench overlook.

Follow the paved trail out to the pier.

Enjoy the natural beauty of the bay waters!

Exit the pier and stay on the paved road towards the picnic area to Owl Alley Trail.

Owl Alley Trail travels southward through the groves of tall eucalyptus trees to China Cove Trail junction.

Turn left onto China Cove for an out & back to the Dynamite Blast & Burning Bunker area.

Return on Owl Alley Trail to Marsh Trail junction.

Turn left onto Marsh Trail. The Marsh Trail, which skirts the southern edge of Whittell Marsh, offers views of the North Bay, including Napa, Vallejo, the Carquinez Bridge, and San Pablo Bay. *1

At Cooks Point Trail junction, turn left for the short to view the Black Powder Press.

Return through the eucalyptus grove back onto Marsh Trail.

Follow the trail out to the picnic area at the south edge of Whittell Marsh.

Enjoy the fabulous views!


Turn around on Marsh Trail to Cooks Point Trail junction. Turn left onto Cooks Point Trail, it runs westward through the beautiful eucalyptus stands for the return to Marsh Trail junction.

Go straight to stay on Cooks Point Trail, it goes past the park office and service yard towards the picnic areas/parking lot.

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.

Continue on the paved trail and cross the bridge back to the parking lot.

Explore the hidden treasure of sparkling bay views, driftwood-endowed shoreline, lush marshes, rolling grass meadows, and shady eucalyptus groves in this 2315-acre regional shoreline. *1 This is a fabulous flat hike that goes around the perimeter of Point Pinole out to the pier and beautiful marshlands 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!

*1 http://www.ebparks.org/parks/pt_pinole

5.9 Miles with 227′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 61′
Time: 3 hours with multiple stops
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, Marsh Trail and on the pier.

Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the mid 70’s with SW winds.

Print Trail Map

Check shuttle service schedule and fees

Point Pinole

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