Crockett Hills Regional Park

Length 5.8 mi · Climbing 1230 ft
Home > San Francisco Bay Area

The Sky Trail has some nice views of the Carquinez Strait

Crockett Hills was little-used until 2015, when five miles of new mountain bike flow trails were built, turning the park into one of the best places in the East Bay for mountain biking. For a while the park was mobbed as cyclists came from all over the East Bay to ride the new trails, but then the trails were softened by winter rains and churned into an unpleasantly bumpy mess by cows. It looks like the park is no longer grazed in winter and the trails have been restored. The park is still popular with cyclists, although it’s not overly crowded.

The flow trails are fairly scenic, especially the ridgetop Soaring Eagle Trail and the wooded Tree Frog Loop. However, because of the excessively long switchbacks, they’re not very enjoyable for hiking.

The best trails for hiking are in the isolated, difficult-to-reach interior valley at the south end of the park. However, most of the trails in this area — everything south of the Tree Frog Loop — are closed for habitat protection from about February through August, though the dates vary (the closures are not currently posted on the park website). What’s more, after the heavy rains of 2023, all trails in the south end of the park except the flow trails were so overgrown that they’d completely disappeared.

The loop described below is one of the few hiking options that doesn’t use the flow trails and is open year-round.

Start at the parking lot at the very northern end of the park, just outside the small industrial town of Crockett. After going through the gate, don’t follow the obvious trail ahead, but immediately turn onto the much less-prominent trail to your right. The trail climbs steeply up a wooded hillside; there’s a little poison oak near the top.

The Crockett Ranch Trail

After passing through a tunnel under Cummings Skyway, the trail leaves the woods and emerges onto an exposed ridgetop, which is the most scenic and popular part of the park. The Sky Trail climbs along the ridge, offering some nice views of Carquinez Strait and its oddly mismatched bridges. In summer, if the park has been grazed, the ridgetop can become unpleasantly dusty, barren, and covered with dried-out flecks of manure, but it’s pretty nice in spring.

The Soaring Eagle Trail, one of the park’s flow trails, seen from the Sky Trail

The trail climbs to a picnic area on an open hilltop, then begin to descend. After a gate, turn onto the Big Valley Trail, which makes a short but steep descent into the valley.

The Big Valley Trail in the interior valley

Follow the Big Valley Trail through the valley until it reaches the little-used Kestrel Loop Trail. The trail is marked with a signpost, but in the spring it may be so overgrown that it’s almost invisible.

A few yards before the road reaches the park boundary, a singletrack connector trail branches off and climbs to another dirt road. However, the connector trail isn’t marked and has completely disappeared. If the fire breaks have been mowed recently you can instead use the much more promenent, but steep, fire break that follows the park boundary; otherwise you might just have to wade through the grass to reach the upper dirt road

The upper half of the loop trail is rough and overgrown, but it’s much easier to follow than the lower half. It continues to climb, offering some nice views of the valley below and the hills to the west before cresting a ridge and descending back to the Big Valley Trail.

The view from the Kestrel Loop Trail in April. Click to see the same view in June.

From the intersection with the Big Valley Trail, return the way you came.



© 2018, 2023 David Baselt