This 37-mile ride starts and ends at the Walnut Creek BART station, winding through off-road paved trails and city bike lanes to Martinez, around Port Costa, through Crocket, and back. The ride includes over 1200ft of elevation gain, with the bulk of climbing – along with the best panoramas – along Carquinez Scenic Dr/Snake Road. I have included a “shortcut” in this ride that will shave off 2-3 miles from the total distance and bring you through some more challenging natural terrain.
Lunch options abound! In Martinez, where you can stop at the Sunday Farmer’s market on Main St. from 10:00AM – 2:00PM. This time, we stopped at Luigi’s Deli and Market for well-priced custom sandwiches on local Semifreddi’s handcrafted bread and sundry 99-cent drinks. There’s also Creek Monkey gastropub. Although their lunch/dinner menu looks delightful with their microbrews, they only serve from brunch on Sundays, and you’re out of luck if you don’t eat eggs.
For a beer break, stop at Warehouse Café on the waterfront. It’s bikers, bikers, and more bikers – both the motorized and non-motorized variety, a large outdoor space to sprawl out beer-garden-style, and a taxidermy polar bear inside. Prices are a bit high, and portions small. Since it’s still winter and daylight hours were short, we didn’t stay here too long before climbing up and out of the park again.
In high summer, there can be minimal wind and high temperatures with few opportunities for shade once you’ve left the Contra Costa Trail. In autumn or spring, there can be slight headwinds heading towards the water.
START at Walnut Creek BART, head EAST on Ygnacio Valley Road, SECOND RIGHT on N Main St.