The Contra Costa Canal Trail forms a horseshoe shape route, traversing through the urban and neighborhood landscape of Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and Concord. The trail follows the canal of the same name, passing through several parks and also linking other regional trails: California State Riding and Hiking Trail, Briones to Mt. Diablo Trail and the Iron Horse Regional Trail
, where they intersect just south of Contra Costa Center.
The Bureau of Reclamation began building the canal in the 1930s to supply crop irrigation in what was then a rural area. The canal was completed following a delay during World War II. There are plans to connect the Contra Costa Canal Trail with the Delta de Anza Trail
Parking for the trail is at the Concord end at Willow Pass Community Park on Willow Pass Road; you must cross Willow Pass Road to access the trail. You can also park at the Contra Costa Centre (BART station here), where you can take the Iron Horse Trail south to the Contra Costa Canal Trail. In Concord there is also a BART station near the trail; access is via Cowell Road or Clayton Road.