Best Uncrowded Walk in the Woods
Point Pinole Regional Shoreline
This 2,315-acre park, which sits a few miles west of Hilltop Mall in Richmond, is a quiet haven for nature lovers seeking serenity, incredible views of Mount Tam and San Pablo Bay breezes. Spending an afternoon there feels like taking a step back in time to when overpopulation was not an issue in this area. Owned by Bethlehem Steel until 1973, the land that is now Point Pinole State Park was used to manufacture gunpowder and dynamite for one hundred years. Thankfully, the state stepped in and reconfigured the land for more mellow endeavors like bird watching, bicycle riding, fishing, and horseback riding. If hiking is your thing, the park is riddled with about eight miles of empty, mostly flat trails. There are numerous benches along the Eucalyptus-lined paths for visitors to soak in the peaceful setting in case a rest is needed. There are wheelchair-accessible bathroom facilities and a paved shuttle trail that runs from the parking lot to the 1,250-foot fishing pier. You can throw a line in the water and snag sturgeon, striped bass, bay rays, leopard sharks, perch, kingfish, and flounder. Stay away from Point Pinole State Park if you like crowded, multi-use trails that feel more like a busy city street than a quiet walk in the woods.