Calflora Home GREAT PLACES
Point Pinole
KEYWORDS:   Native Grassland, San Francisco Bay, East Bay Regional Parks
Pt. Pinole is a 2000+ acre East Bay Regional Park with sweeping views of San Pablo Bay. Several hundred acres of native coastal prairie grasslands cover the park.

DIRECTIONS:   The park is served by AC Transit line #71 and #376 from the Richmond BART station and Richmond Parkway Transit Center.The Park District operates a van shuttle to take visitors down the Point Pinole Trail on a paved one lane road to a fishing pier and picnic spots.

  • Many of the trails are accessible to bicycles and horses.
  • Dogs are OK if on leash.
  • NOTES:   Nineteen (19) species of California native grasses are found here, including extensive cover of California oatgrass (Danthonia californica) and Purple Needle Grass (Stipa pulchra) bunchgrasses. There are fourteen (14) herb and wildflower species that are now found in few other East Bay locations, including the very rare Johnny-Nip Paintbrush (Castilleja ambigua subsp. Ambigua). Occasional small wetlands hold fifteen (15) species of rushes and sedges.

    TRAILS:   The shoreline edges can be reached by 2-3 mile walks with slight gradients. The graveled Cooks Point Trail leads though to a northerly big grove of euchalyptus to meet the Marsh Trail and the north shoreline. Marsh Trail opens onto a great bay view with native prairie grasslands transitioning to a salt marsh plant community at the bay edge.

    THREATS:   The land is protected as a park under the East Bay Regional Park District, but the diverse native coastal prairie and wetland native plant life are under threat of takeover by weeds that are moderately-invasive ? Velvet grass and Artichoke thistle ? to highly-invasive weeds ? Himalayan blackberry and Fennel (Cal-IPC). Without historical fires and other disturbances, Coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanquinea) can also over take and degrade a native grassland. The Park District has weed specialists taking care of this area. The Watershed Project, a non-profit community group, has been working to reintroduce oysters near the fishing pier.

    HISTORY:   The Huchiun (Ohlone) tribe likely used the shoreline surrounding the park to harvest crabs, mussels, clams, oysters, and fish at a time when they were plentiful in the San Francisco Bay estuary. The Giant Powder Company operated at Pt. Pinole in the early 1900?s and the Giant Highway is still bears the name of the main road leading to the park. From 1880 to 1960, 2 billion pounds of dynamite was produced here. The dynamite business left behind big groves of eucalyptus (the large Tasmanian Blue Gum - Eucalyptus globulus).

    East Bay Regional Parks District: Point Pinole
    The goats are back!
    CNPS CHAPTER AREA: :   East Bay

    AREA OF THE POLYGON::   646 acres
    DENSITY::   0.296 native species per acre
    Thanks to  Jim Hanson  for contributing this great place.