I have probably passed by Brigantino Park several thousand times coming into Hollister from San Juan Bautista. The park is located just west of the 4th Street Bridge off the Highway 156 Business route leading into town, but until last Friday, I had never stopped to check it out. Guess what, folks? It’s a jewel!
I had about thirty minutes to kill in between appointments in town and I really felt like stretching my legs, so I pulled into the parking area to see what the park had to offer. From the road, it appears to be just a large, undeveloped green space. I was looking for a walking path, hopefully with some nice views. Brigantino Park did not disappoint.
Looping around multiple acres of thick, freshly mown green grass atop an elevated, level river terrace, is a wide, crushed-gravel trail about a mile in length. It offers long views of the Diablo Range to the east and a glimpse of the San Benito River between town and the park. The trail steps up to another elevated river terrace on the west side of the park, flanking the base of the oak-covered Flint Hills. On a brilliant, sunny Good Friday afternoon, I saw just three other small groups of walkers enjoying the scenery and getting in their exercise. This was exactly what the doctor ordered, a chance to walk and breathe and soak in the quiet, peaceful beauty of a perfect San Benito County Spring day.
Brigantino Park, which opened just in the last decade, is in the early stages of development by the City of Hollister. Currently, there are clean porta-cans and picnic tables spaced evenly around the perimeter, a large, fenced parking area, benches and shade trees along the path, and adequate signage to let you know where your boundaries are and what you need to be aware of. Future plans call for construction of soccer and softball fields in the park.
This is a perfect place to go for a walk or a run on your lunch hour or to take the family for a picnic and playtime. The benefits of unscheduled, uncrowded free play for children have been well documented. Bring a soccer ball or a Frisbee for instant fresh-air fun, romping in the lush, green grass. Let them organize themselves and see what happens or get in there yourself to mix it up with them. The point of having a park is to recreate. Go get some sunshine. Run out of breath. Fall down, get up, laugh, and shout for joy, get some grass stains on your britches. That’s what parks are for.
Brigantino Park, at 2037 San Juan Road in Hollister, is open from 8 a.m. to sundown every day. The fenced-in parking lot is locked at night and overnight camping is not permitted. Pets should be leashed in the park. Waste bags for pets are provided at the parking lot. Currently, the water in the park is not potable, so bring your own drinking water. And please my friends, do not litter.
Peace, Love, and Pocket Parks,