Carquinez Benicia Grand Scenic Cycle Loop

The August 2009 opening of a new bike path has opened an excellent bridge-to-bridge recreational loop ride over the Benicia–Martinez and Carquinez Bridges. The basic route is 25 miles, accessible by public transit, quite scenic, and consisting almost entirely of pleasant to ride roads. The route has restrooms and water, and at least three good cities to purchase lunch in.

Route finding is straightforward, though you have several options through the Glencove area. In the Benicia area you can choose a direct route, or to follow the well signed Bay Trail bike route (which takes you closer to the water, though often on twisty little sidewalk paths probably better left to pedestrians). The recommended direction is clockwise, as this puts more of the hill climbing on low traffic streets.

The bridge path endpoints are:

  1. Benicia North: off Park Road.
  2. Benicia South: off Marina Vista Avenue.
  3. Carquinez North: off Maritime Academy Drive.
  4. Carquinez South: off San Pablo Ave, at the I-80 Interchange.

As this is a loop ride, you can start anywhere. Suggested approaches include:

  • Amtrak Capitol Corridor Train to Martinez Station (one stop east of Richmond BART).
  • Vallejo Transit Route #78 Express (one stop) from Walnut Creek BART.
  • Vallejo Transit Route #80 Express (one stop) from El Cerrito Plaza BART.
  • Baylink Ferry from San Francisco.
  • By car, via I-80, taking the exit immediately south of the Carquinez bridge.

Look for an official EBBC recommended cycle route in the next edition of the “West of the Hills” map. And look for additional hiking connections as the Carquinez Strait Scenic Loop Trail is completed.

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