Fernandez Fabulous

Hike Fernandez Ranch in the East Bay Hills

There’s a lesser known hiking haven located in the northern range of the East Bay Hills. Fernandez Ranch has beautiful trails through the park’s golden hills and under oak savannahs. Thank the John Muir Land Trust for its efforts in conserving Fernandez, among other ranches, farms, open space, and shoreline.

This 4-mile recommended loop hike bonuses with glorious view of San Francisco Bay. Start on the Black Phoebe Trail, named for the bird that frequents the fence posts separating the pasture from the trail. Cross Slot Creek’s dry bed and start an ascent among mixed forest on the Whipsnake Trail.

Gallery image 1 of 3
Gallery image 2 of 3
Gallery image 3 of 3

As you climb, the surrounding forest gives way to open plains and giant oaks. Views come easy once you reach the park’s “Upper Meadow” as marked on the map. The views fade as you continue along the trail and descend into the valley. After crossing a small bridge, follow the Woodrat Trail up a ridge for the last views from an elevated point on the trail. It’s a quick and steep descent back into the valley on the Windmill Trail and a wooded section of trees making their autumn color transition.

Hike Fernandez Ranch in the East Bay Hills

Follow the trail paralleling Fern Creek ravine back to the parking lot.

The exit to the Fernandez Ranch parking lot is difficult to spot along Hwy. 4 for eastbound traffic as Christie Rd. is designated as a “minor exit.” The Fernandez Ranch entrance and parking lot is located at 1081 Christie Rd., Martinez, CA 94553. No drinking water is available at the trailhead. Dog-friendly!

__

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

    View
  2. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Road Trip Ahead: Oregon Outback

    Remote open spaces, camping under true Dark Skies, hiking and biking trails galore, wildlife refuges, and hot springs! Plan your road trip to the Oregon Outback this summer.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Secret Beach

    A hidden beach and a killer view? Those are hard to come by, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Perles Beach on Angel Island. This pocket cove is worth the 1.5-mile trek to get there.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Nice Ring to It

    This tiny but mighty open space preserve on the Tiburon Peninsula can often exhibit a wide range of wildflowers late into the season, not to mention one of the most jaw-dropping views of the bay.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Bouquet of Waterfalls

    Like a good love letter, some of the best hiking trails are short and sweet. Cue the hike to Bouquet Falls in Santa Clarita Valley’s Bouquet Canyon.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Easiest Best Hike in the World

    Choose the easiest and most view-rewarding hike in Yosemite. Okay, we’ll go first: the combination of hiking to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Both of these lookouts are within a couple miles of each other on Glacier Point Road

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    All Roads Lead to Rogue

    Idea for your next road trip: Go Rogue! The Rogue Valley in beautiful Southern Oregon has some of the state’s best hiking, swim holes, and wineries, and the charming historic towns of Ashland, Medford, and Jacksonville.

    View