Ridge Trail: Crockett Hills and Fernandez Ranch 2019-11

Completing the last east bay segment of the ridge trail between Carquinez and Garin, I walked the Crockett Hills and Fernandez Ranch trails.

Another transit trip, I took WestCat Lynx from San Francisco to Hercules, and then WestCat 11 to Crockett. A short walk along Crockett Blvd leads to the Crockett Hills trailhead. The trail climbs up through a canyon and gains the ridge after passing under Cummings Skyway in a short tunnel. The views north to the Carquinez (Al Zampa) Bridge, and all of San Pablo Bay and the mountains beyond (Tamalpais and even the tip of Mt St Helena) are spectacular. The trail drops into and follows a creek valley, and then climbs out to a long descent towards Highway 4. The official trail ends before the final descent, but as always, with my attempt to hike the gaps as well as the trail, I continued.

The park trail ends at a ranch fence. From there, over the fence, squeeze through a chain link highway fence, through a tunnel, squeeze under another highway fence, then cross the eastbound highway 4, which took about 10 minutes of waiting for a gap in traffic, rather a busy highway for a Sunday), then over a barbed wire fence, through a long grazing area, through another barbed wire fence, across the railroad tracks (this is a busy BNSP route), and to the next trailhead. I DON’T recommend to anyone else doing this gap. I’m not sure what the eventual ridge trail alignment will be. There was flagging for a ‘cons ease’, I assume a conservation easement for a trail, through the ranch lands, but I don’t know where/how the crossing of Highway 4 will be.

trail through Crockett Hills Regional Park

The ridge trail starts again at the Fernandez Ranch trailhead on Christie Road, and climbs to the ridge top where it connects with the trail on EBMUD lands. This is the point where the western and eastern segments of the ridge trail, crossing respectively the Carquinez and Martinez-Benicia bridges. come back together. I had done the trail both south and east from here, so I walked along the ridge trail just to where it approaches a suburb of Hercules. There is no official trailhead here, but a fire/ranch road leads out on the north side of the neighborhood. From there, I caught WestCat bus 10 to Hercules, and then WestCat bus 30Z to Martinez, and Capitol Corridor home.

With this segment, my ridge trail distance is 516 km (320 miles), out of the 380 constructed. I note from the Ridge Trail website that the official completed mileage has gone from 375 to 380. I am unsure which segment completion boosted the mileage from 375 to 380, but every bit counts.

Photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/allisondan/albums/72157711981007963

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