Fernandez Ranch


Explore History and Nature at Fernandez Ranch

The Fernandez Ranch, a historic 7,000-acre property, has been in the Fernandez family for nearly 150 years. Partnering with JMLT (John Muir Land Trust), a multi-phase project began in 2005 to preserve this remarkable ranch. With community support, the first land acquisition and a $3.5 million restoration project were completed. Today, over 1,180 acres are open to the public, offering a glimpse into California's rich history and diverse ecosystem.


Hiking Trails for Every Explorer

  • Windmill Trail: This popular trail winds past a mid-20th century dairy farm, a historic windmill, and Fern Creek. It connects to the Bay Area
    A young boy in a hunting vest and cap admires yellow mustard flowers

    Photo: Adam Weidenbach

    Ridge Trail, leading you into the Pinole Valley Watershed.
  • Black Phoebe Trail (ADA accessible): Enjoy a leisurely stroll along this trail, featuring picnic tables and benches overlooking South Meadow. Keep an eye out for black phoebes flitting along Rodeo Creek, and spot wildlife like western fence lizards and California meadow voles in the open grasslands.
  • Woodrat Trail: Climb through a dense bay forest and discover the impressive stick nests built by San Francisco dusky-footed woodrats. Watch for California newts and spot numerous bird nests on the ground and trees.
  • Whipsnake Trail: Hike to the summit for breathtaking views! Kids will love exploring the hills and meadows, searching for bugs, beetles, and animal tracks. Be on the lookout for rare species like the Alameda whipsnake and California red-legged frog.

A Haven for Wildlife

Fernandez Ranch encompasses a rich tapestry of ecosystems. Oak-studded slopes transition to freshwater wetlands, giving way to Rodeo Creek, a haven for various plants and animals. JMLT's stewardship ensures the health of this vital habitat.

At dawn and dusk, Fernandez Ranch truly comes alive. Deer emerge from the woods, coyotes exchange calls, and in spring, wildflowers transform the landscape into a vibrant tapestry of poppies, lupine, and the threatened Mount Diablo sunflower.

Endless Opportunities for Recreation

With its network of trails connecting to the 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail and San Francisco Bay Trail, Fernandez Ranch is a paradise for hikers. Horse trailers can access a designated staging area, and well-behaved dogs are welcome off-leash.

Plan your visit Fernandez Ranch and experience a unique blend of history, nature, and outdoor recreation!

Directions to Fernandez Ranch >>

Address: 1081 Christie Road, Martinez, CA 94553