This guide is from the Nejedly Staging area on Carquinez Scenic Dr. near the old cemeteries in Martinez. The staging area includes picnic tables, restroom and hitching rail. There is limited horse trailer parking in the upper parking lot.
The trails in this guide were mostly fire roads and in good condition. The exceptions are the beginning of the Rankin Park trail. This is actually a narrow connector trail from in the park to a larger trail that begins outside the park. The Hornbeck trail is also a narrow trail.
Started the ride by taking the Rankin Park connector trail through the gate on the left of the staging area. We had problems with low branches. One totally blocks the trail we had to dismount to get under and my son's taller horse still got the saddle hung up on the limb. Would not recommend for horses until limbs are cleared. Also a very steep narrow trail at the beginning. Fine if hiking. Not sure if bikes are allowed on this portion of the trail.
Once out of the narrow part in the trees you begin a long ascent where you will meet the California Riding and Hiking trail. Follow this for a short ways to the intersection with Franklin Ridge Loop trail.
Follow Franklin Ridge around to the left and follow down hill along the back side of the ridge. At the bottom continue on around to the right along the creek. Do not take any side trails, they end in gates.
You will begin a steep ascent up the front of the ridge. Take your time, it's worth the climb! From the top you get beautiful views of the Carquinez Straits, the Carquinez and Benica Bridges, and the sailboats and other vessels.
Once on the top, there are small trails to benches overlooking the straits.
Follow the Franklin Ridge Loop trail to the intersection with the Hulet Hornbeck trail on the left.
Hulet Hornbeck trail is under the trees, narrow and fairly steep in places. It would be pretty muddy and slippery in wet conditions. A portion of it follows a creek and takes you back to the staging area. Bikes are not allowed on this trail.
As usual bring drinking water. There are no water troughs so bring stock water. Dogs are allowed in the park but must be under control and leashed in the staging area.
This is a grazing park and cattle are in the park certain times of the year. Generally if you don't bother them, they won't bother you.
Great hiking trails, but access trails from staging area are steep. Although bikes are allowed, access to the upper trails is limited.