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Hulet Hornbeck Hike





by Transit & Trails


Wildlife Sightings

by iNaturalist


Length: 3.81 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: Halfday
Created by Ken Dyleski

Ken Dyleski helps Save Mount Diablo with mapping and on-the-ground stewardship work. He collaborated on producing the first edition of the Mt. Diablo map published by Save Mt. Diablo. His GPS enabled digital trail map of the Diablo Grand Loop was published on the National Geographic Topo site. He has a California State Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Diablo Valley College. Mr. Dyleski's previous articles on the outdoors have been published in Sierra magazine, Northern California Explorer, and the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Good for:
  • Views
  • Wildflowers
  • Forests and Woodlands
  • Grasslands
  • Urban Hiking


The Hulet Hornbeck Trail follows a scenic high traverse through Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline, inviting contemplation of our magnificent East Bay wild lands.

Hulet Hornbeck, a former Martinez attorney turned E. Bay Regional Parks land buyer, added 76 square miles of parklands and 200 miles of trails to what is today 110,000 acres and the largest regional park system in the United States. Hornbeck passed away at age 92 in 2012, and joins Mary Bowerman and Art Bonwell as the most influential protectors of the E. Bay environment.

            Hikers can begin at Tavan Field, Martinez, at the end of Buckley St.; situated  just above Talbart St. where parking is available. Walk around the right edge of Tavan Field, past the restrooms, to two short sets of stairs.  The stairs lead you to a gated paved fire road on the right.  Follow up hill half block to turn left and continue now on an unpaved fire road. It’s a sometimes steep climb, with little shade. But the contrasting juxtaposition of the strait, grasslands and woodlands next to stucco housing, concrete freeways, and arching Benicia Bridge soon give way to quiet undulating ridge tops.  You will find that the altitude puts things into a correct perspective.

            As the angle of the trail lessens, a grassy saddle appears with the first trail sign announcing the Hulet Hornbeck Trail with an arrow pointing left. Interestingly, the sign announces that the trail is also known as the Bay Area Ridge Trail and California Hiking and Riding Trail. Proceeding left, a slight rise through another smaller saddle reveals great views of Mt. Diablo to the east. Hikers wanting only a short scenic hike can now return the way they came. Total elevation gain at the nearby trail high point is a little over 650 feet. If you’re going forward, stay high on the ridge back as the main trail eventually leads to a “Y” with the left choice leading down hill alongside the boundary fence to a locked back entrance to the John Muir National Historic Site.

            To get to the front entrance, follow Canyon Way, turn right on Arroyo Dr., then left on Rapp and right on “K” St. to Alhambra Ave. Turn right onto Alhambra Ave. and walk a few short blocks to the Historic Site. Open Wed. through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., house tour at 2 p.m., movie on Muir and picnic grounds available. Options include: return by retracing steps, walk back using city streets to car, or use public transport.


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