Saturday, August 06, 2005

Contra Costa Canal Trail 3: Pleasant Hill

Another day, another stretch of the Contra Costa Canal Trail. The weather today is blazingly hot, but an 8:30am start means we avoid most of the heat and most of the direct sun.

Start at Walden Park, just south of Pleasant Hill BART station; there’s a small parking lot here which was almost full when we arrived. It would seem we’re far from the only early walkers today. (Plenty of roadside parking on Jones Road, should this lot be full.) The Contra Costa Canal Trail runs east-west along the top edge of the park, crossing the Iron Horse Trail which runs north-south; although we drove to the start point today, we could have walked the 1.7 miles from home to here.

Satellite view of Walden Park and trails.

We head east on the Contra Costa Canal Trail, which crosses below the BART line, the freeway, and North Main Street before running a short while in an earth-banked cut. This section of the trail isn’t so nice; the sections near the freeway run past light industry and auto shops, and the cut is dull and bakingly hot.

But soon enough we turn north and head up through suburban Pleasant Hill. And this is a lot nicer. The canal, and so the trail, run along the backs of properties rather than alongside the roads; so it’s shady and quiet. Quiet, that is, apart from the other trail users, of which there are many. Saturday morning is obviously peak time.

Trail map of Contra Costa Canal Trail in Pleasant Hill.

At Lockwood Lane we turn around and head back, making this a roughly 5½ mile, 2 hour walk. And a very nice walk: cooler and more interesting than the arid stretch through Ygnacio Valley. I’m keen to hike the final stretch through northern Pleasant Hill.

Categories: Hiking