Cullinan Trail - Straight shot into the refuge area

Trail View
The Cullinan Ranch Trail sits on the line between the San Pablo Bay NWR on the right and the Napa-Sonoma Marshes WA on the left.
User: Austin Explorer - 11/27/2021

Location: San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Rating: 3stars
Difficulty: 2stars  Solitude: 3stars
Miles Hiked: 3.96 Miles  Elapsed Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes


Coppertone and I set out to hike another trail we had not yet mapped.  At the time we were not 100% sure whether this trail was in the state's Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area of the nation's San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  Mostly the Cullinan Trail exactly follows the line separating the two reserves.  Upon further research, it looks like the US government claims the trail and so we'll log it here.

There is ample parking just off of Highway 37 and an informative kiosk with a map and displays showing the wildlife who live here or pass through on their migrations.  Despite the heavy traffic on roadway, as you put distance between the cars and yourself the noise level drops a great deal.  The trail is almost straight as an arrow and the surface is a well maintained gravel roadbed.  There is a small boat launch and a separate viewing platform on the east side of the trail not too far from the trailhead.

Along the way you'll have ample opportunity to spot singular and flocks of birds either in the water or on the shore.  There were also lots of grass plugs spotting the shore on the east side of the trail as workers try to establish a ribbon of vegetation for additional cover for birds.  The official trail goes for about 1.3 miles and ends at a kayak haulout ramp with another educational kiosk.

There is a trail that continues to the west, but that is not part of the official Cullinan Trail.  In fact, it's likely leaving San Pablo Bay NWR altogether and entering the Napa-Sonoma Marshes.Wildlife Area.  The trail from this point on is overgrown but still quite manageable.  At the end of this spur sits an abandoned, dilapadated mobile home.  It may not be long before it collapses in on itseld.  This at least explains the power lines that followed the trail leading up to this point.

The trail ends here at the old homesite.  We doubled back to the trailhead and called it a day after logging nearly 4 miles on the trail.  We did pick up a few geocaches along the trail to add a little something to our outing.

Log Photos
Trail View
Looking east
South Slough
Heading back
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