Pinole (formerly also spelled Penole) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 19,039 at the 2000 census. It is one of many small “bedroom communities” along the I-80 corridor in Western Contra Costa County. It is located about 20 miles (30 km) northeast of San Francisco, and approximately a half-hour drive (without traffic) from San Francisco. Neighboring towns are Richmond and San Pablo to the southwest, and Hercules to the northeast. The unincorporated area of El Sobrante lies to the south.