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The Contra Costa Canal Regional 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 Regional Trail with the Delta de Anza Trail.
In Concord there is a BART station near the trail; access is via Cowell Road or Clayton Road.
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. View the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
A friend and I rode this trail as part of a two-day bike ride in East Bay – riding the Iron Horse Trail and the Contra Costa Canal Trails. On the first day – we road mostly the Iron Horse and then rode the Eastern Section of the Canal Trail to the end and back. This section of the Canal trail started out a bit rough but only for a small portion – maybe 100 yards – then the surface was smooth and it was a great ride along the canal through nice neighborhoods. We spent the night near the intersection of the Iron Horse and the Canal Trail and rode the Western Section the next day before heading back down the Iron Horse Trail. The western section of the trail was great as well – nice surface – easy to follow with a minimum of street crossings. Both of these trails have a lot of street crossings, but almost all of the crossings give a preference to the trail. We only had to wait at a few. Definitely a nice place to ride!
I run about 5 miles up and down hills on this trail. It's always a heart-pumping workout and I love the scenery along the way.
I rode this from Pleasanton to Martinez, took me 2 hrs. Very nice, especially through Danville!! The very last bit was a little sketchy past Walnut creek, lots of homeless living along the wide marsh, nobody bothered me. All in all very enjoyable!!
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