(Bay View- Fishing Pier- Owl Alley- Cook's Point)
I've been to Point Pinole only one other time, despite its proximity to my 'hood. I tend to think of Point Pinole as not worth the effort, since the longest run you can do is about a 5.5 mile loop. However, as I had an errand in Pinole and I'm trying to run short, I figured--why not?
What I realized on this run is that I am spoiled. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled by the Bay Area. See, I've been reading different blogs around the country lately, and we have, um, ridiculously good weather for running. Today's weather? Sunny and 63 degrees, with no humidity. Sure, it could have been a little less windy
and a little warmer to make it perfect... but really, it's great running weather. (Plus, I'm eating the last of some delicious chocolate that is adding to my excessively spoiled feeling.)
Then we come to the whole matter of trails. Today I was running along the Bay View Trail, which gives you... a view of the Bay! Yes, if you look closely, that IS Mt. Tamalpais in the distance-- the whole time you run along this trail, you are treated to views of the Sleeping Lady, as the mountain is called in Miwok stories. Not bad, right? Then the trail leads out to the point, and all you can see on three sides is blue, blue, blue. It's one of the best views of the North Bay I've seen-- it feels much more remote and peaceful than Angel Island, and several benches offer 180 degree views looking out over the water. At the end of the point, a fishing pier juts out into the water, and there's a gorgeous picnic area that takes advantage of the great views. Different plaques detail historical information about Point Pinole. It used to be a dynamite producing plant, and much of the early community of El Sobrante worked here in the early 1900's.
I realized today that I am spoiled though, because I felt this run was kind of-- eh. It was fine and all, but it was pretty flat and eucalyptus trees seemed to be rather over-dominant on the landscape, in my rather snobby opinion. And I think really, if I weren't so spoiled by all the other options I have to choose from around here, it's a pretty decent little run. The brochure says it has 12 miles of trails and you'd have to probably run every single trail in a row to get to 12 miles, but who said every park needed to be the Ohlone Wilderness? I will say this for Point Pinole--it has a quietness about it that is very peaceful.
Dogs? Well, that's confusing. I think that on the unpaved trails, you can have your dog off-leash, but then at the picnic areas or paved trails, dogs have to be on leash. I kept passing signs that said "Now entering leash area"-- but I wasn't ever aware of when I exited the leash area. I guess just bring the leash and take cues from other people with dogs.