Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline
The Park District has begun a project to construct the 1.7-mile Martinez Intermodal to Crockett segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail along Carquinez Scenic Drive.
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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.
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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. At the northwestern edge of the shoreline park, the remnants of a former brickworks, grain wharf and resort, dating back to the turn of the century, recall the historic character of the site. The sights and sounds of tugboats along this broad waterway are also part of the charm and excitement of Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline.
The major plant communities that occur in Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline include plant species typical of annual grassland, oak woodland, and coastal scrub vegetation. Localized wooded communities composed of oak and oak/bay woodland and buckeye can be found in protected east-facing slopes and ravines. Plantings of eucalyptus groves are also present at scattered locations.
The park grasslands provide habitat to western meadowlark, horned lark, house finch, western bluebird, and American goldfinch, which forage and nest in the area. Valley oaks offer perches and nest sites for the red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, golden eagle, northern harrier, great horned owl and barn owl. Cooper's hawks depend on the riparian ravines for nesting and for providing cover for ambushing prey. Mammals include the gray fox, mule deer, raccoon, eastern fox squirrel, Botta's pocket gopher, and a variety of other species. Small rodents are prey to gopher snakes, sharp-tailed snakes, and western garter snakes.
The park exists in two sections that are not contiguous and are separated by private property. Parking is available at two locations. The Bull Valley Staging Area offers access to Eckley Pier and the western portion of the park, accessible from Carquinez Scenic Drive. From Highway 4 west of Martinez, exit at Cummings Skyway. Turn right on Crockett Boulevard, right again on Pomona Street in Crockett. Pomona Street becomes Carquinez Scenic Drive. Proceed to the staging area, on the left. Driving another mile or so will bring you to another small staging area, also on the left. From I-80 in Crockett, exit onto San Pablo Avenue or Pomona Street, depending on your direction of travel (San Pablo Avenue become Pomona Street east of I-80). Go east on Pomona into Crockett and follow directions above.
At the eastern portion, parking and horse staging are accommodated at the Carquinez Strait East Staging Area, accessible from Carquinez Scenic Drive in Martinez. Although both the Bull Valley Staging Area and Carquinez Strait East Staging Area are located off Carquinez Scenic Drive, there is no through traffic on this road because of a landslide in 1982.
Public transportation: Only Carquinez Strait East Staging Area is accessible via public transportation. Take County Connection bus #116 from Pleasant Hill BART (every 30 minutes weekdays, hourly Saturdays). Or take County Connection bus #118 or #108 from Concord BART. From the Mount Wanda Park & Ride lot, catch County Connection bus #116 at the Park & Ride lot on Alhambra Avenue south of Martinez (just across the freeway from the John Muir House).
Click here for more public transit information or call 511 (TDD/TTY: 1-800-448-9790) to confirm transit information.
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