Dog-friendly Sky Ranch

Sky Ranch

Dutra Rd.
Martinez, California
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Local Phone: (922) 228-5460

Sky RanchOverlooking Suisun Bay and with glorious views of Mt. Diablo, this extraordinary property nestled in the hills southwest of Martinez was acquired by John Muir Land Trust in 1998, saving it from impending development.

Sky Ranch provides important wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and access to a key segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. It remains a glimpse of a distant era, when open land stretched for miles with few signs of human presence.

Sky Ranch links existing East Bay Regional Park District parklands and preserves the Bay Area Ridge Trail and Contra Costa Feeder Trail #1. These trails span the ranch and also connect with a section of the California Hiking & Riding Trail.

While hiking, biking or riding your horse along these trails you might see deer, fox, coyote, red-tailed hawk or American kestrel, whose presence speak to the property’s timeless value as a home for both resident and migratory wildlife.

Majestic mountain lions have been occasionally observed here and one aim of JMLT’s conservation effort is mountain lion habitat protection. But not to worry – according to John Muir Land Trust, the animals keep their distance and your kids and dogs are very safe on all JMLT properties.

Getting to Sky Ranch:

From Highway 4 eastbound: Exit Alhambra Avenue. Turn right onto Alhambra Avenue. Make your first right onto Franklin Canyon Road.

From Highway 4 westbound: Exit Alhambra Avenue. Turn left onto Alhambra Avenue. Turn right onto Franklin Canyon Road.

Then: Continue on Franklin Canyon Road for one mile. Turn left onto Dutra Road. The trailhead marked “Contra Costa County Feeder Trail #1” is on the left about one-tenth of a mile up the road. Watch for the yellow “END” sign on the left and park on the left side of the trailhead and stables. The Feeder Trail leads a mile up to the gate at the entrance of the Sky Ranch property. The Sky Ranch Kiosk is there, with signs and a map.

Dog hiking Acalanes Ridge
Axel hiking Acalanes Ridge. Photo Credit: Karen Booth, JMLT staff
Be grateful for the folks behind the John Muir Land Trust—and consider donating to the Saving Contra Costa campaign if you can. This 25-year-old organization devoted to outdoor recreation and preservation of open space manages 11 properties comprising more than 2,000 acres of classic East Bay hills, ranches, streams and shoreline saved from development and offering multi-use trails for hiking, cycling, horses and dogs.

If Daisy stays close and has a reliable recall, she’s welcome to accompany you off-leash as you take in an intoxicating dose of fresh air. Some JMLT properties are diminutive (Acalanes Ridge above Lafayette, for example, comprises just 23 acres), while the Franklin Canyon-Fernandez Ranch complex in the Martinez-Hercules areas sprawls over 1,185 acres of permanently protected open space. more »
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Photo Credit: Elsa Day
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Pleasanton Ridge
Pleasanton Ridge - Photo: Maverick Wyatt Myers
Residents of the East Bay’s Tri-Valley region know they’ve got it good when it comes to open space, but the casual visitor buzzing through on the Interstate 680 corridor might not realize the foresight and vision responsible for the region’s semi-rural character. Regional plans limiting urban sprawl and protecting agriculture are why vineyards, rather than houses, grow on Tri-Valley’s rolling hills, and why wide-open views are available even from densely populated areas. more »
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