Bike the Anza Trail in Wildcat Canyon
by Steven Ross, Anza Trail Outdoor Recreation Planner
The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is the largest regional park district in the country; it manages more than 112,000 acres of land in 65 parks in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The Recreational Retracement Route of the Anza Trail winds through 20 of these parks, totaling about 90 miles. Early in the trail’s development, the EBRPD constructed the Delta de Anza Trail, a 19 mile paved trail between the cities of Concord and Oakley. In 2011, EBRPD completed an NPS cost-share project which installed 14 Anza Trail interpretive signs and an Anza Trail Brochure for the EBRPD. Since that time, NPS and EBRPD has been working to install Anza Trail signs along the Recreational Trail route throughout all the EBRPD lands. EBRPD is also in the process of updating all of their trail maps to show the Anza Trail route. We’re happy to report that the trail sign project is nearly complete, and new brochures are being printed that identify the trail route. It is now possible for visitors locate and hike over 90 miles of the Anza Trail, from the East Bay hills to the Delta region, and into the Ohlone Wilderness!
I recently used my mountain bike to field check trail signs in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, and discovered a great loop ride in the process. The trail has some steep ascents and descents, so only experienced mountain bike riders should attempt it on a bike. However, it also makes for a great hike on foot.
TRAILHEAD AND ROUTE:
[Zoom to this park on our interactive map here]
Park at the Wildcat Canyon Staging Area, off Park Avenue (exit Interstate 80 at McBryde / Solano Avenue). At the trailhead, look for the Anza Interpretive panel, which features mammals you won’t find here anymore: grizzly bear, antelope, and elk. From the trailhead, ride up the Wildcat Creek Trail approximately 2.3 miles to the intersection with the Havey Canyon Trail. After 0.5 miles you’ll pass the Belgum Trail (part of the signed Anza Trail route), but continue on the road to make this a loop. At the Havey Canyon Trail, turn left and follow the single track trail uphill for approximately 1.25 miles. The first half of this route follows a stream and is shaded by trees; near the top it is open grassland. Use caution; you’ll have to dismount and carry your bike where the trail crosses the creek. At the top of the trail, you’ll reach Nimitz Way (paved). Turn left on the Nimitz Way, and enjoy the panoramic views of the Bay Area as you pedal north about 2 miles along the San Pablo Ridge Trail, with peaks as high as 1,057 feet (San Pablo Ridge was once the site of a Nike missile installation). Once you reach the Belgum Trail, continue downhill another 0.66 miles to the Wildcat Creek Trail and your car. After the bumps and jolts of the trail, you’ll appreciate the pavement on the smooth return ride.
If you didn’t consume your lunch (and energy) on the San Pablo Ridge, wander down to the historic Alvarado Park picnic area. The park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes stone and masonry barbecue pits, light poles, and a bridge over Wildcat Creek that were constructed by Works Progress Administration crews in the 1930s.
The Wildcat Canyon Trail Regional Park information and Trail Map can be found at: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/wildcat
View of the Bay
Map of this Loop Ride/Hike