Flashy Fernandez

Hike or Bike at Fernandez Ranch in Martinez East Bay

Biker on a trail at Fernandez Ranch in Martinez East Bay

{March 2024 Update: Given the recent weather, please check ahead before visiting sites to check on any trail closures, and be mindful that mud and debris hazards are possible if visiting after storms. Exercise good judgement and caution for safety. Do not hike or bike here during storms.}

Green rolling hills studded in oak trees, wildflowers like poppies, lupine and the Mount Diablo sunflower—exclusive to Contra Costa County ... the landscape at Fernandez Ranch in Martinez is a highlight reel of wildlife, wildflowers, and wowing panoramas. Try a 6-mile hike or bike ride combining the Windmill, Woodland, Franklin Ridge, Woodrat, Whipsnake, and Black Phoebe Trails.

Biker riding by trailside poppies at Fernandez Ranch in Martinez East Bay

Mountain biker on the trail overlooking San Pablo Bay in the East Bay Fernandez Ranch

Thank the John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) and the Fernandez family, who tended to their private land for over 150 years before JMLT initiated an effort to preserve and restore much of the ranch. Today, the general public also gets to enjoy the multi-use trails at this gem of a place to hike, bike, picnic, and experience glorious vistas.

Windmill on Windmill Trail in Fernandez Ranch East Bay Martinez

Mountain biker on the trail at Fernandez Ranch in the East Bay John Muir Land Trust

From the Fernandez Ranch Trailhead, take the Windmill Trail for a gradual ascent winding past an old dairy farm and windmill. Turn onto the Woodland Trail for a beautiful forest ramble including bay trees and oaks. The trail rises to a plateau at the intersection of Canyon Loop Trail. Wildflowers up here are currently blooming, especially poppies and lupine.

Three women hiking at Fernandez Ranch in the John Muir Land Trust Fernandez Ranch

Person sitting on a bench overlooking rolling hill scenery at Fernandez Ranch in Martinez

The views are outstanding, with green hills galloping in every direction out towards Mount Tam and San Pablo Bay. Head west to connect onto Franklin Ridge Trail for more flowers and a lone bench overlooking the landscape. There’s also a solo picnic table up on a knoll for those who bring some provisions. On clear days you’ll spot the peak of Mount Diablo looming in the distance. Cattle here dot the landscape too.

Biker at Fernandez Ranch in Martinez

Complete the route descending via the Woodrat Trail and Whipsnake Trail, enjoying expanses of quiet grasslands punctuated by giant oaks, more vistas, and a brief ascent to Black Phoebe Trail and the Homestead Picnic Area. Fernandez is fabulous.

There are some cattle ranch gates to pass through on this trail. The Black Phoebe Trail is ADA accessible. Dog-friendly! Maps are available at the trailhead, but we recommend printing one out or taking a photo of the map, in case the brochures need to be replenished. There’s a large map at the trailhead and you can also find the Trail Map on the JMLT site.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Taking the Stage: Tyler Ranch

    Hike the recently opened Tyler Ranch Staging Area in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, with 18 miles of new trails. This 6.5-mile loop up Sunol Peak is a challenge and rewards with exceptional views of seasonal iridescent hills.

  2. Swing into Spring

    Swing into this 7.1-mile hike in the hills of Half Moon Bay! It’s got gorgeous views, fields of spring wildflowers, and a hidden rustic tree swing.

  3. The Carson Show

    Carson Falls is ready for primetime. This three-tiered, 100-foot stunner is hidden back in a canyon outside of Fairfax and reached on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike.

  4. woman kneeling and signing peak book at Mount Olympia in Mount Diablo State Park

    Double Up on Diablo

    Set the tone for 2024 with this twofer summit hike at Mount Diablo State Park. Embark on a 7-mile out-and-back up Mount Olympia and Diablo’s lesser-known summit, North Peak.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

  2. Caves in Mojave

    No one expects to see caves when they visit the desert, and that’s part of what makes Mitchell Caverns in the Mojave Desert such an interesting place. Go on a two-hour guided adventure tour through Mitchell Caverns in Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.

  3. Sponsored

    Port of Call

    Nestled by the sea on the majestic Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, Port Townsend is for travelers who treasure small town charm and natural beauty.

  4. Lava Lava

    Once a land of volcanic activity, Mojave National Preserve shares plenty about its past via a quick yet adventurous hike to the Lava Tube in the Cima Dome Volcanic Field.