Bay Area Ridge Trails
I downloaded the GPS file provided by the Trail Council and have based the routes I am running on that map. When the trail system is complete, it will cover around 550 miles circling the entire Bay Area from Napa down to Gilroy.
Below I've added a photo and link to all of the runs that include a BART segment that I have recorded on my Strava account. Since I'm not running the trails straight through all at once, most of my runs involve a loop or an out-and-back that is not reflected in the mileage listed below.
I completed this segment during the Marin Ultra Challenge 50k race. It was an absolutely perfect day for racing, and I loved everything about the trails here! Beautiful scenery all around with wonderful views of the Bay and Pacific.
Spent Christmas eve morning running this amazingly exposed ridge-line segment that overlooks both the bay and the Pacific. Got there right at sunrise and was pleasantly welcomed by vast rolling expanses of single track trail.
Incredibly diverse segment with beautiful visa views from the top of Mt. Wanda with exposed open space cow pastures. Then the route winds down along the city streets of Martinez, along the train tracks before crossing the Martinez Bridge.
Loved the sled of the eucalyptus trees as I passed through them! Because of the storm I ran through there were points on the ridge line where I had to lean far against the strong winds so I wouldn't get blown over; all while trying to maintain firm footing in the mud. Never got to see the beautiful vistas that are here.
Fantastic single-track trails on this run, routing through moss covered trees and exposed ridgelines that had zero visibility on this morning. Awesome wooded trails that felt like I had somehow transported up to Oregon or Washington. Need to make my back back on a clear day sometime!
I started this route at the Saratoga Gap main parking area and headed north. The first few miles traversed in the trees just below the ridge-line road, then after crossing Skyline Highway, the trail opened up onto beautiful vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There was one small spot just off the trail where I could poke my head out of the thick foliage and look down on a foggy Silicon Valley below. While not a lot of scenic views, there are a few variety of vegetations to be seen along this segment.
This ridge trail (mostly a dirt road) gave way to awesome views of the Pacific Ocean about midway up the run. It was a beautiful site cresting the hills to see simultaneous views of the Bay and the sea.
My legs fell apart on the last uphill part of this run. But this segment had both stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as creek crossings down in the valley.
I had a morning event to attend in Dublin, so picking off this trail segment was quite convenient for my weekend plans! There was loads of climbing a few tremendous vistas before decending into the neighborhoods.
The city street sections of this segment had some of the best marked segments of any I've done to date. The two highlights for me were coming over the SF hills at sunrise, and running directly on the beach in Pacifica.
It was a pleasure to run the bridge and it wasn't quite as crowded as I would have suspected (although it was a Tuesday morning). The most pleasant surprise of this run was emerging from the busy city streets into the Presidio forrest just before hitting the bridge.
The actual park section of this segment is very short. Most of the run is through the city and neighborhood streets of Petaluma, CA. That being said, the views from the Helen Putnam Park were very lovely.
This segment was a delightful surprise. It included all of the glorious golden hills that you would expect in California, but also routed through dense redwoods and bright green ferns on the southern portion.
I really love this segment that overlooks a pretty healthy looking lake on one of the southern-most trails of the system. The rolling golden hills here are some of the most beautiful I've seen in the area.
The most impressive thing about this trail is that not once did I need to stop at an intersection for traffic. This paved section of the BART runs continuously for the entire segment. Running parallel to a major interstate for the majority of the run, the scenery is only okay.
Climbing to the peak was a good reminder just how many people live here. It was packed! By far the busiest trail I've been on yet. Once I moved south pass the summit I had all of the trails to myself again. This was quite a lovely vantage looking over the entire Silicone Valley.
The very beginning of this trail is slightly different than the map suggests. Instead of cutting through the golf course like I did (and was escorted out), just pull to the back behind the clubhouse and park there to start the trail. Otherwise, there was one nice overlook view but the rest was burried in the trees on a wide jeep trail.
This was my third and final run of the day, and my stomach wasn't cooperating with me. The route started off with pavement going straight up hill, then the BART route was extremely well marked on the way up to the summit. Sadly, the views at the top, and throughout the run left a lot to be desired.
Of the three runs I did on June 21st, this was my favorite. The views atop Bald Mountain are a stunning 360° panorama overlooking Napa Valley and Santa Rosa. The climb to the top oddly included a lot of paved trails, but was 1,545 feet in elevation gain over 2.8 miles.
This is another all pavement segment that utilizes the shoulder of the main road through downtown Yountville. There's no real elevation gain, but the trail passes by a number of vineyards with views of the mountain ridge.
There was nothing scenic or rugged about this segment at all. It is smack in the middle of a busy neighborhood and all pavement (with a little gravel). I could however see the Alum Rock hills from the route. Not sure why this was included in the BART system?
This is the southern most segment of the BART system. The trail gradually climbs it's way into a forrest full of massive redwood trees.