This Bay Area Ridge Trail hike starts at the Benicia State Recreation Area, which has its own exit from I-780, and goes east into Benicia. There’s a corresponding hike from the same trailhead heading west into Vallejo; I’ll do that hike on a later occasion. After the first mile or so, which is within the Recreation Area and immediately next to I-780, the trail emerges into town.
After this the hike is really what I call a “city walk” – on streets and sidewalks. As indicated by the segment name, the designated/marked trail goes through neighborhoods near the waterfront. In fact, most of the trail is also designated the Waterfront Trail. Here and there, there are excellent views across the Carquinez Strait to the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline in Contra Costa County.
There are a number of historical sites along the waterfront, as well as some lovely restored Victorian houses.
After walking several blocks down First Street, a charming downtown area, the trail enters the Marina Green, which surrounds the Benicia Marina and passes by the Benicia Yacht Club.
I particularly enjoyed looking at the various boats in the marina, and the constant breeze was very refreshing.
After leaving the marina, the trail continues a little way through town to the intersection of E. 5th Street and E. H Street. This is a temporary end point until the Ridge Trail connection is made to the vista point and the crossing of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge (I-680).
While returning to the trailhead and once again enjoying the historical waterfront neighborhood, I noticed an interesting sign showing the way to many exotic destinations.