Along Carquinez Scenic Drive between the town of Crockett and the hillsides overlooking Martinez, the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline features 1,568 acres of bluffs and shoreline. This parkland provides a gateway along the northern edge of Contra Costa County to the river delta region. Up to 750 feet above the Carquinez Strait, the coastal hills climb steeply. The view includes the marshland of the Benicia State Recreation Area north of the Carquinez Strait from the highest elevations. The horizon is penetrated by the peaks of Mt. Tamalpais to the west and Mt. Diablo to the east, from atop Franklin Ridge along the Franklin Ridge Loop Trail and the California Riding and Hiking Trail. Looking south from this high point are the ridges of the provincial parks of Briones and Las Trampas.

This park ‘s topography consists of open, rolling grasslands, forested ravines, shaded eucalyptus meadows, and river shorelines. Connection to canyon views and ridgetop vistas is provided by multi-purpose trails. The remains of the former brickworks, grain wharf, and resort, dating back to the turn of the century, remember the historic character of the site at the northwestern edge of the coastal park. The sights and sounds of tugboats along this large waterway are also part of the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline ‘s charm and excitement.

The Vegetation

Plant species typical of annual grassland, oak forest, and coastal scrub vegetation are the main plant communities that occur in the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline. In the protected east-facing slopes and ravines, localized wooded communities consisting of oak and oak / bay woodland and buckeye can be found. Eucalyptus grove plantings are also present at scattered locations.

The grasslands of the park provide habitat for the western meadowlark, horned lark, house finch, western bluebird, and American goldfinch that nest and drill in the area. For the red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, golden eagle, northern harrier, great horned owl, and barn owl, the Valley oaks offer perches and nest sites. For nesting and providing cover for ambushing prey, Cooper’s hawks rely on the riparian ravines. The gray fox, mule deer, raccoon, eastern fox squirrel, pocket gopher of Botta, and a number of other species are mammals. Gopher snakes, sharp-tailed snakes, and western garter snakes are the prey of small rodents.

Cows and calves are currently found along the California Riding and Hiking Trail in the hills above Martinez. In early June, they will be withdrawn. On either side of Port Costa, cattle were recently introduced to Park District ground. Until late June, they’ll graze.

Image courtesy of Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

After visiting the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California, make sure to stop by these other gems:

  • Rankin Aquatic Center
  • The Cobra Experience – Museum & Event Space
  • Mt Wanda
  • Hidden Lakes Park
  • Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline Park
  • Barrel Aged Cocktail Bar at Barrelista
  • Roxx On Main
  • Five Suns Brewing

All of these secret spots are located just a short distance from our location in downtown Walnut Creek, Spaulding Concrete at 1461 Locust Street!