BARTable Walk: North Concord/Martinez to Concord
BART Station:North Concord/Martinez
With stops at a pixie-sized amusement park to pilot Red Baron airplanes and a family-friendly taproom to sample craft beer from here in the Bay, across the state and points beyond, this BARTable Walk into downtown Concord is sure to please the kids (and kids-at-heart) and also you moms and dads.
Walk Time: 1.75 to 2.5 hours
Distance: 3.5 miles
Terrain: City sidewalks, some paved and unpaved trails
Exit the North Concord/Martinez station past the station agent booth and through the main faregates. Once outside, take a right and head along the sidewalk back towards the station platform. Before starting the walk, take in the full view of Mt. Diablo from the covered walkway leading away from the station entrance.
Continue walking on the sidewalk into the linear park that runs parallel to the BART tracks.
Trainspotters! From the linear park, get up close and personal with trains heading in and out of the station.
At the intersection with Olivera Road, cross to the other side and take a left on to E. Olivera Road. Walk through the residential neighborhood and veer right as the sidewalk transitions into an unpaved path. Pass by Quinault Village (once military personnel housing for the closed Concord Naval Weapons Station) and the baseball fields of the Concord American Little League.
Ahead and across a small pond is not a mirage, but the Pixieland Amusement Park. Yes, it may be small and would fit perfectly well in the Shire, land of the Hobbits, but the park is big fun for toddlers and kids (up to around 8). They can slay dragons on the roller coaster, spin around in tea cups, soar through the skies like the Red Baron or race horses on the antique carousel. It’s free admission – just pay for the ride tickets.
Tip: Days and hours are subject to the weather so give them a call before visiting or check out the calendar on its website.
With kid rides and classic carnival eats (corn dogs and funnel cakes!), how about Pixieland for a kid’s birthday party? Photo courtesy of Pixieland.
Continue on E. Olivera Road and turn right on to Salvio Street (take the shortcut by the tennis courts at the Willow Pass Community Park). Head up and over the small hill at Altura Drive and keep straight on Salvio Street through to the Todos Santos Historic District in downtown Concord.
For some “big kid” amusement, stop in at The Hop Grenade near the intersection with Grant Street for some beers and bites. Choose from over 20 brews on their digital menu board (that even tells you how much is left in the keg) and pair with some flatbreads, sandwiches or sausages. Then settle down at a table on the outdoor patio and enjoy the goings-on across at Todos Santos Plaza.
The Hop Grenade is also HQ for The Brewing Network that produces radio programs, podcasts and videos for the brewing community.
For a quiet moment, perhaps to enjoy a bag lunch, grab a bench at the Salvio Pacheco Square next door to The Hop Grenade.
Continue the walk with a stroll through Todos Santos Plaza. The square was one of the original 20 blocks laid out to form Concord (first named Todos Santos) and was dedicated back in 1869 by its founders: Salvio Pacheco and Fernando Pacheco (father and son) along with Francisco Galindo (son/brother-in-law).
Todos Santos is a hopping hub of activity throughout the year with festivals, fairs, concerts, performances and special community events, such as Mother’s Day, Fourth of July and Christmas celebrations. You can plan your walk for when the Concord Farmers’ Market sets up shop (Tuesdays, year-round, 10am-2pm and Thursdays from April to October, 4pm-8pm). Bring a reusable bag to pick up fresh, local and organic produce and maybe some flowers, cheese or eggs.
On Monday evenings, Off the Grid food trucks take over and serve up a wide variety of street foods. How about live music? Hit the plaza for Tuesday Night Blues or Thursday evenings for the Music and Market Series.
With shady trees, a wide lawn and benches, Todos Santos Plaza can also be a peaceful spot to take a nap or read a book.
On the southwest corner of the square at Willow Pass Road and Mt. Diablo Street is one spot that is truly a rare sight these days: a bookstore! That’s right, Half Price Books sells those rectangular things made of paper in addition to CDs, videos, records, magazines and even board games. They also buy used books. Got some old textbooks? Kids can pick out something special from the children’s section. And you just might come across a printed treasure hidden in the shelves. Don’t be shy to ask the staff for help. Though it is a chain store, HPB doesn’t quite feel like one. Outside the front and side entrances of Half Price Books are clearance items you can pick up for just a few bucks.
Leave the square by taking a right on to Willow Pass Road. Cross Galindo Street and take a left and then cross Clayton Road and take right to the Galindo Home Museum and Gardens. The Galindo House was constructed in 1856 by Francisco Galindo and his wife, Maria Dolores Manuela (Pacheco) Galindo, daughter of Salvio Pacheco (remember them?).
The ranch house was expanded over the years and passed down through generations of Galindos. After the death of Ruth Galindo, the last direct descendent of the family, the house and surrounding property were given to the City of Concord in 1999. Then in 2010, ownership passed on to the Concord Historical Society and it underwent a two-plus year restoration and opened to the public. If you time your arrival on a Sunday between 1pm and 4pm, you can join a guided tour led by society members.
Built as a ranch house in the Victorian style, the Galindo House is now a museum with original family furnishings and personal items on display. Photo courtesy of Concord Historical Society.
Return to Clayton Road, turn right and cross back over Galindo Street. Take a right on to Grant St. and go two blocks to end the walk at the Concord station. The Concord station was the "end of the line" until 1995 when the line was extended out towards Pittsburg/Bay Point.
Variations and options
- Extend the walk: End at the Pleasant Hill station. Go through the parking lot on the other side of the bus stops and walk down Oak Street. At the fork in the road, veer left and continue on Oak Street. Cross over Galindo Street and take another left. Keep straight on Galindo Street as it turns into Monument Boulevard and walk through the long street corridor past all the stores and businesses. At Mohr Lane, cross Monument Boulevard to the left side and join the Iron Horse Regional Trail, heading south all the way to the Pleasant Hill station (add 2 hours, 4 miles).
- Take a side trip: To see another historical home, pass by the Don Salvio Pacheco Adobe (1870 Adobe St.). Constructed by builders from Mexico with local Miwok tribe members during the 1840s, it was the first permanent structure in the Diablo Valley. The building was the headquarters for Salvio Pacheco’s Rancho Monte del Diablo, his 17,921-acre land grant from the Mexican government (add 30 minutes, 1-mile, round-trip from Galindo House).
- Add a walking tour: Stop by some of the 28 sites in the self-guided Downtown Historic Walking Tour put together by the Concord Historical Society. Follow the online map.
What to Bring
Sturdy walking shoes and a daypack with water, bag lunch or snacks (or pick up along the way), sun protection (hat, sunscreen), extra layers or rain gear (just in case). A smartphone is handy for maps and looking up information, or taking photos. And, of course, your BART ticket or Clipper card.
About the stations
North Concord/Martinez Station first opened in December of 1995 and was originally to be called Port Chicago (once a town to the north where a deadly munitions explosion took place in 1944). It served briefly as a terminal station until the Pittsburg/Bay Point extension over Willow Pass Road was completed in 1996. A covered walkway lined with bus stops leads to the entrance of the station, a polygon-shaped building with a footbridge and stairs that descend to an island platform level for the Pittsburg/Bay Point to/from SFIA/Millbrae line.
Concord Station first opened in May of 1973. It is located in downtown Concord, the largest city in Contra Costa County. Between it and the Pleasant Hill station is the Concord Shop, one of BART’s maintenance yards and the Diablo Test Track, where BART construction officially began on June 19, 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson officiated ground-breaking ceremonies for the 4.4-mile track, used to develop and evaluate the new design concepts for BART's transit car and automatic train control system.