Pt Pinole-Dotson Family Marsh-Wildcat Marsh-Landfill Loop Trail

Sunday, June 4, 2017

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The journey is as scenic as the destination at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, a 2,315-acre 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. Explore the hidden treasure of sparkling bay views, driftwood-endowed shoreline, lush marshes, rolling grass meadows and shady eucalyptus groves. 

The more than 12 miles of trails are mostly flat or gradually sloping dirt or gravel, with one asphalt trail for strollers, skaters, bicyclists, and the pier shuttle. In April 2017, the Park District completed major restoration and public access enhancements to this popular park, including the Dotson Family Marsh, the Atlas Road Bridge, and a 1.5 mile raised extension to the Bay Trail.*1

This ride takes you across the new Atlas Bridge into Pt Pinole for a leisurely jaunt around the beautiful marshes, grass meadows, and eucalyptus groves out to the fishing pier at Pinole Point. It continues south on the SF Bay Trail out to the gorgeous Dotson Family Marsh and Wildcat Marsh to the Landfill Loop Trail.

Begin this ride from Country Club Vista Park in Richmond to Atlas Rd.

Head west to the end of Atlas Rd and cross Atlas Bridge into Point Pinole Regional ParkAtlas Road Bridge Extension-The District opened a new park entrance at the end of Atlas Road. The entrance, which comprises a vehicle and ADA-compliant pedestrian bridge over railroad tracks, provides visitors with safe access to the park. The entrance leads to a new ADA-accessible parking area, picnic sites, and restrooms. Future plans for this area include a park office and service yard and the route to a new park visitor center.*1

Exit the parking/picnic area and turn right onto Cooks Point Trail, it cuts through the eucalyptus stands towards the Black Powder Press. At the road junction, turn left onto Marsh Trail followed by a right to stay on Marsh.

The trail leads to a vista area with gorgeous bay views!

Turn around and reverse your way back on Marsh Trail. At the next junction, turn left onto Cooks Point Trail.

At Owl Alley Trail junction, turn right. Owl Alley leads out across the grass meadows and eucalyptus stands towards the pier at Pinole Point.

Ride out to the end of the fishing pier and enjoy the spectacular bay views!

Roll through the middle of the park on the paved Point Pinole Trail, it crosses the expansive open meadows towards the southern end of the park.

Turn right on Cooks Point Trail to Bay View Trail. Continue south along the shoreline to the new raised extension into Dotson Family Marsh on the SF Bay Trail. The Dotson Family Marsh (formerly Breuner) underwent major habitat restoration and climate adaptation management to mitigate sea level rise, coastal and inland flooding. The restored marsh has been renamed in honor of the Dotson family, longtime residents of adjacent Parchester Village, for their environmental legacy to save the Richmond shoreline from development.*1

Enjoy the splendid views!

Turn right onto China Clipper Spur Trail, the trail leads out towards Cordgrass Jetty Trail to the scenic Overlook Area.

Enjoy the wonderful bay views!

Turn around and make your way back onto the Bay Trail, continue south to the Dotson Family Marsh Staging Area.

Exit the parking lot onto Goodrick Ave, it continues south past the Richmond Gun & Rod Club.

At Richmond Pkwy, make an immediate right onto the sidewalk/SF Bay Trail.

Turn right into Wildcat Marsh Staging Area to the Wildcat Creek Marsh and Landfill LoopTrail. The paved road leads to a dead end overlook area. This trail system combines visits to both Wildcat Creek and San Pablo Creek marshes as well as the circumnavigation of a man-made landfill “mountain” which offers magnificent views across San Pablo Bay to landmarks in Marin, Sonoma, andWestern Contra Costa counties. *2

Turn around and make a left onto the gravel road to stay on Wildcat Creek Trail, it meanders through the west edge of the industrial area to the Landfill Loop Trail Head. Immediately seen is the WCWD modern treatment facility complete with its 89 giant solar panels which provide electrical power to run treatment equipment.*2

Enjoy the scenic Marsh Creek views!

Exit the trail and turn left across the parking to the Landfill Loop Trail gate. This 2.8 mil- clockwise loop encircles Republic Services “Garbage Mountain”, a 305-acre landfill dominated by a 158-foot tall hill covering rubbish and industrial wastes brought from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. *2

The trail continues to a large retention pond on the right, partially covered with pickleweed. This 40-acre site provides forage and cover for many bird species. On the left is a large area that is open to tidal flow from the bay. *2

On the left is a large area that is open to tidal flow from the bay. *2

Entering the trail on the San Pablo Creek side, the creek is seen running down into the large biologically productive tidal marsh at its mouth. these tidelands provide resting and feeding habitat for shorebirds and large wading birds such as egrets and great blue heron.*2

The trail heads east as it exits out towards the trailhead parking lot.

Take Parr Blvd back to Richmond Pkwy and reverse your way back to Dotson Family marsh staging area.

Return along the Bay Trail through the marshes to Point Pinole.

Turn right at the trail split and follow the paved road to Giant Station Trail. The trail rolls through the gorgeous shaded eucalyptus stands to Cooks Point Trail. The eucalyptus woodlands, originally planted as a buffer against potential explosions, now shelter wildlife instead, such as deer, hawks, owls, Monarch butterflies, and many other species. Shorebirds wade at the beaches, and the salt marshes are home to song sparrows and harvest mice.*1

Reverse your way across the Atlas Bridge for the return to Country Club Vista Park.

Not every ride has to be long and arduous, take a break and enjoy a leisurely jaunt along the scenic Richmond shoreline! Bring a picnic lunch and the whole family can enjoy a fun and beautiful ride around the park and beyond! There are beautiful views of Mt. Tamalpais, the Marin shoreline, and San Pablo Bay with its sailboat and shipping traffic! *1


Garmin Stats:
18.69 Miles with 443′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 26′
Max grade: 3%
Terrain: Flat-mixed terrain

Weather: Sunny, warm & breezy. Temps ranged from the high 60’s to the mid 70’s with brisk SW winds.

Print Pt Pinole Trail Map

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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