Activities

Golden Hills Park in Martinez is a Hidden Gem

It can be tough to find a great park in the Reliez Valley area of Lafayette. Roger Smith park is nice, but it’s small. Pleasant Hill Park is gigantic but can feel hard to manage, given its size. For people looking for a park in this area of the East Bay, Golden Hills Park in Martinez is a hidden gem.

Here’s a look at this small but very nice local park.

Visiting Golden Hills Park

Golden Hills Park is located in the rural parts of Martinez, California, right by Briones. It’s at the end of Bernice lane, in a residential neighborhood just off Blue Ridge Drive. If you didn’t know it was there, you’d definitely miss it.

There are two parking areas for the park, both down residential cul-de-sacs. There’s limited parking right next to the park entrance, but you can also park in the nearby neighborhoods if you don’t block peoples’ driveways.

The park is 7 acres, which means it’s on the smaller side for an East Bay park. Still, its small size and more remote location make it peaceful, and the park is rarely crowded. It’s right next to an open space, so there are indeed golden, rolling hills just by the park, which are lit up beautifully by the evening sun late in the day.

Facilities at Golden Hills Park

Despite its small size, the facilities at Golden Hills Park are new and surprisingly high-quality. For starters, there are two playgrounds, one for smaller kids (2-5) and one for bigger kits (5-12). There are also two swingsets, again for the different age groups.

Playground at Golden Hills Park
Playground at Golden Hills Park

The park also has lighted tennis courts, and people from the nearby neighborhood seem to walk in to play tennis. There are two courts at the park, and they’re rarely in use.

Tennis courts

There are also picnic tables in several locations. There’s a big grassy field where people often walk with their dogs. It’s not an athletic field, but it’s a nice open space to run around. Golden Hills Park is hilly (as the name implies), so it’s not the best park for hiking or riding a kids’ scooter. But the paths are paved, so it’s easy to walk around, even if you’re not going to do a long hike there.

One of the nicest things about the park is its brand new multi-use room and restroom facilities. Restrooms at East Bay parks can be non-existent or not very nice, so it’s great to see a newly-built, high-quality facility with running water, individual restrooms, and the like.

Restrooms and multi use facility at Golden Hills Park
Restrooms and multi use facility at Golden Hills Park

I’m reluctant to even write about Golden Hills Park, because I love the serenity of this little East Bay gem. But now you know about a local secret. Go and enjoy it!

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times.

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