Running in the 'Meda: Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Running in the 'Meda: Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Marty Beene

This week, we visit yet another East Bay park that makes a terrific running venue, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. This is not the biggest park in the park system, but with the dense network of trails, you could practically run all day long.

Like last week's site, this park has some interesting history. Beginning back in the 1800s and continuing for almost 100 years, this was the site of gunpowder and dynamite manufacturing. There are some interesting and informative displays about that history within the park.

Like other East Bay shoreline parks, there are amazing views. When I ran here last, it happened to be on a particularly clear morning, and Mt. Tamalpais seemed close enough to touch.

From the parking area, you have a nice (!) "warmup," climbing a short, steep hill to the bridge over the railroad tracks. If you happen to catch a train passing by underneath you, stop to wave at the engineer. Immediately after crossing the bridge, take a left and go down the trail toward the water. That trail bends to the right to parallel the shoreline - it's called the Bay View Trail.

A little over a half mile along that trail, there is a smaller, more rugged trail that continues ahead - signs warn of the terrain, but it didn't look that bad to me. Both times I ran this trail recently, I did stay on the wider, smoother main trail, which bends to the right, climbs a short rise, then continues parallel to the rougher trail below.

Eventually, the Bay View Trail reaches the end of the peninsula, curves to the right around the end, and meets up with the paved road used by the fisherman's shuttle. The shuttle operates periodically so that people don't have to drive their cars out to the fishing pier. As you head back in the direction you came along the road, you reach the shuttle stop and turnaround. Take the Owl Alley Trail that veers off to your left. When I ran here, I had hopes I would see an owl, but no such luck.

When you reach the end of this trail, turn right to find your way back to the interior of the peninsula and then the parking area, or turn left to explore some of the park's eastern shoreline. Once you get back to the paved road that runs up the middle of the park, you can turn right to go back and explore some of the myriad of trails crisscrossing the delightful terrain of the western half of the peninsula.

There are restrooms and drinking water at the parking area; the part of the park just across the railroad bridge; and up at the end, near the shuttle turnaround.

To get to Point Pinole from Alameda, get onto I-80 like you're heading for Sacramento. Take the exit to Hilltop Road, turn left at the end of the ramp, and follow Hilltop all the way to Richmond Parkway, about 1¾ miles. Turn left onto Richmond Parkway, then take the exit ramp leading to Giant Highway, then a right at the stop sign at the end of the ramp. Take yet another right turn onto Giant Highway at the traffic signal, and - as it bends sharply to the left, crosses railroad tracks, and meets a four-way stop - turn right to remain on Giant. In a half mile, turn left into the parking access road.

In other news, I have launched registration for my Mountain Running Retreat to be held in June! There is detailed information about it and a link to sign up on my website - if you love running, you would probably love doing this.

Marty Beene, a USA Track & Field certified coach, is owner of Be The Runner; he coaches adults from beginners to veterans individually and in groups, and registration for his Mountain Running Retreat in June is now live - visit his web site for more information. Marty can be reached at marty@BeTheRunner.com.