Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Picnic
  • Fishing pier
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Particularly good for families
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Bicycling

Features

  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Picnic
  • Fishing pier
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Particularly good for families
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Bicycling

Information

Website:
visit link
Address:
5551 Giant Highway, Richmond, CA
Region:
San Francisco Bay Area
Phone:
Info: 888-327-2757
Hours:
Generally 7 am-5 pm but changes according to the season
Dogs:
On leash
Last Visited:
August 2017
Within this 2,315-acre park, the largest on the northeast bay shore, you'll find a variety of habitats; meadows, marshlands, rocky beaches, while views of Mt.Tamalpais, the Marin shoreline, and San Pablo and San Francisco Bay stretch before you. Wildlife is abundant, over 100 species of bird can be found in two of the bay's remaining original salt marshes, sandy shores and eucalyptus groves. A map available at the entrance shows 12 miles of trails (at least five miles have some access) that crisscross the park. From the 1,250-foot fishing pier at the end of Pinole Point Road you can see remnants of the old pier that stretched for 900 feet into San Pablo Bay, and was once the busy shipping dock of Atlas Powder Company. In summer most of its grassy areas are dry and it can be hot.

Trails and Pathways

Trail:
Pinole Point Road
Trailhead Location:
At main parking lot
Trail Length:
1-2 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Mostly gentle
Terrain:
Hard
Trail Overview: Pinole Point Road (closed to automobile traffic) the main route through the center of the park, leads to the end of the point and fishing pier. Because it is paved it can be crowded with people walking their dogs, kids on bikes and fisherman heading to the pier. It starts from the parking lot with a climb over a railway overpass that may require assistance for a manual chair user, then runs almost level until it dips and climbs for a few hundred yards as it approaches the pier. Benches are available all along the way as well as pleasant picnic areas with moderately accessible tables and barbecues.
 
More Info: There are two steep stretches; one at the start where the trail climbs to a railroad overpass; the other near the trails end.
Trail:
Cook's Point Trail
Time to Complete:
30 minutes
Trailhead Location:
Start from the Giant Cluster picnic area. Sign says Giant Station trail
Trail Length:
1-2 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Mostly gentle
Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trail Overview: This nearly level trail is probably the best way to get away from the crowd at Point Pinole. During my mid-winter visit it was evident that it had been a wet winter by the lush emerald green carpet that blanketed the expansive meadow. Frogs could be heard but not seen. After nearly a mile in and out of eucalyptus woods, it reaches a pleasant narrow beach, which may be hard enough for some wheelchairs to cross. Except in wet weather, any wheelchair could travel the quarter mile or so of trail along the water's edge.
More Info: Only the first stretch, a few hundred feet, is slightly steeper than 1:12 The unnamed spur that parallels the water may be narrow in places. Surface is mostly hard gravel, but it may be uncomfortably rough, and at the end, some dirt stretches may get muddy after rain.
Trail:
Owl Alley
Time to Complete:
1 hour
Trailhead Location:
Northern entrance; near picnic area by pier. Southern entrance; follow Giant Station to Cooks Point Trail, then Owl Alley.
Trail Length:
1-2 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Gentle
Terrain:
Firm
Trail Overview: We started at the southern entrance paying close attention to trail signage; it's easier to follow from the north entrance. Owl Alley Trail parallels Pinole Point Trail further inland offering views of San Pablo Bay and the hills beyond. Much of this trail has expansive views of the grasslands until you reach a eucalyptus grove where, from Dec. thru Feb. you might catch a glimpse of Monarch butterflies. A small fresh water pond lies down a spur trail at about the halfway point between the trail's north end and where it connects to Cook's Point Trail. It's a lovely private place to linger and listen to frogs. Just beyond the pond we were treated to an amusing show of goats busily munching the grasslands; they are brought in yearly to mow the grasses.

You can make an easy three to four mile loop when one combines it with Point Pinole Trail and Cook's Point Trail. Benches are provided.
More Info: Gravel surface may be rough in places. Some patches may be impassable in wet weather. The spur trail to the pond has a steep cross slope.
Trail:
Bay Trail at Dotson Marsh
Time to Complete:
1 hour
Trail Length:
2-4 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Level
Terrain:
Hard
Trailhead Location: At the Goodrick Ave. and Giant Hwy. parking lots. To reach the trail head from the Giant Hwy. lot there are a few hills and uneven terrain that are easy to navigate in a motorized wheelchair and for a strong manuel chair user.
Trail Overview: In 2016, the Dotson Family Marsh (formerly Breuner Family Marsh) underwent major habitat restoration. 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. As part of the restoration, a new 1.5 mile paved trail traverses the legth of the marsh and eventually connects with other trails at the main staging area of the park. The best time of year for this trail is a mild winter day or spring/early summer when the landscape is green and wildflowers are emerging or plentiful. I went on a late summer day and while the golden landscape and views of the bay are interesting, the lack of shade and flora made it somewhat monotonous. It's a wonderful place to watch migrating birds. Benches are plentiful throughout.

A spur trail composed of compacted dirt and gravel gets you close to the water but might be rough riding for manual wheelchairs.

More Info: At the end of the trail there is a slight incline into the main part the park

Accessibility Features

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, hard, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;

At the park's main entrance off Giant Hwy, at the foot of Atlas Rd. and for Dotson Marsh, at the end of Goodrick Ave. A park shuttle to the pier leaves daily (except Tues. & Wed.) from the main parking lot. It is not wheelchair lift-equipped; however, with advance notice you can follow the shuttle in your vehicle and park near the pier.


Accessible Restroom:
Yes – The newest and most accessible restrooms are at the Atlas Rd. and Goodrick Ave parking lots. Others are by the northern shuttle stop and at the base of the pier.  Portable units are at the Point Pinole trailhead, intersection of Cook's Point Trail and Owl Alley Trail, and at Palms and Giant Cluster picnic areas.

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance; One quarter mile from the main parking lot, at the fishing pier and the newest, most accessible tables are near the Dotson Marsh parking lot and at the Atlas Rd parking lot.

Other Things of Interest:
No fishing license is required to fish from the pier (1.5 miles from the parking area). Some benches on the pier have windbreaks, and are designed with space for wheelchairs. 

Good to Know:
At Dotson Marsh, gunshots from the nearby gun range can be heard so you might want to plan your trip for Tues., Thurs, or Fri., when the range is closed. Additionally, depending on the wind you may smell chemicals from the nearby refinery. These distractions are not evident at other trails in the park.

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