Costa Canal Trail,
East Bay Regional Park District,
Contra Costa County
4.9 mile out and back walk on a paved trail running along the Conta Costa Canal, bordering residential neighborhoods.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 4.9 mile out and back walk is very easy. The trail is flat. You can create more challenging hikes by extending a walk off the trail into surrounding parklands.
Paved sidewalk-like trail.
Nice year round.
From the CA 24/Interstate 680 junction in Contra Costa County, exit Ygnacio Valley Road (exit 46b). Drive east on Ygnacio Valley Road for about 2 miles, then turn left (north) onto San Carlos Drive (look for the small "Heather Farms Park" sign). Drive about 0.5 mile, to a parking lot on the right side of the road, just before the road curves left and crosses the canal.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, stores, and restaurants on Ygnacio Valley Road, and there's a shopping center just off the trail, near Bancroft.
Lots of parking near the trail, with even more parking back down the road at Heather Farms Park. There you'll also find restrooms, a pay phone, and drinking water. There are a few designated handicapped parking spots at the trailhead, and the trail is an excellent candidate for wheelchairs and strollers. No parking or entrance fees. Maps are available on the trail, less than 0.1 mile from the trailhead. This trail is accessible to public transit. From the Pleasant Hill BART station, walk or ride about 1/4 mile south on Oak Road.
Trail is multi-use, and is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dogs are permitted.
The Official Story:
EBRPD's Contra Costa Canal Trail page
EBRPD headquarters 510-562-PARK
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Map from EBRPD (download the pdf)
Contra Costa Canal Trail in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.
View photos from this hike
Costa Canal Trail is a broad path that supports
a multitude of activities, including running, roller blading, dog walking,
and strolling. The 13.5 mile trail runs mostly through residential neighborhoods
from Martinez to Concord, following along the Contra Costa Canal. Although
the trail crosses city streets from time to time, the Contra Costa Canal
Trail generally keeps a safe distance from roads, so users are protected
from cars (and auto exhaust). It's a perfect haven for families with small
kids and folks in wheelchairs. This cooperative project developed by the
East Bay Regional Park District and the Contra Costa Water District offers
the greatest recreational and transportation benefits to cyclists. Residents
of adjacent communities can use the Contra Costa Canal Trail to ride to
school, the grocery store, or even to commute locations via BART. Cyclists
from out of the area may take BART to Pleasant Hill or Concord, and then
ride on the paved path to any number of parks and open spaces. Other long
distance regional trails
such as Iron Horse, Ygnacio Canal, California Riding and Hiking, Lafayette
to Mount Diablo, and Briones to Mount Diablo permit passage to Mount
Diablo State Park, Briones Regional Park,
Lime Ridge Open Space, Carquinez Strait Regional
Shoreline, and Las Trampas Regional Wilderness
(note that with the exception of Contra Costa Canal and Iron Horse, all
these trails have long stretches on dirt trails and fire roads).