Did you know that there is a trail in progress that will one day encircle the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays? Well, there is! Started in 1989, the San Francisco Bay Trail will eventually cover 500 miles, crossing through 47 cities and spanning seven toll bridges.
Today 350 miles of the trail are complete, giving visitors access to the Bay from multiple angles via foot, bike or wheelchair. It traverses over 130 parks and preserves, including at least 15 on the Peninsula and the South Bay, where POST is working to protect open space. With so many entry points to choose from, you can find a destination to fit your unique recreation needs, whether you want to gather with friends, hike, bike, jog, birdwatch or see the sights from your wheelchair.
These are a few of the South Bay and Peninsula Bay Trail locations I visit when I need to stretch my legs and smell some salt air! I invite you to check out some of these amazing trails as well.
This gem was protected by POST in 1997 and opened to the public in 2015 following extensive restoration to convert it back to a wetland after many years of use for agriculture and salt farming. Bair Island is the largest island on the Peninsula at over 3,000 acres, all of it protected for the birds and wildlife that live on its marshy soil and for you to enjoy. To protect the wildlife, no dogs are allowed in this preserve.
This preserve offers:
This beautiful area is part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Reserve and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which continues to work to restore the tidal marsh to its former glory.
This 1,940-acre preserve is one of the largest expanses of undisturbed marsh surrounding the San Francisco Bay. It encompasses Byxbee Park, with its public art pieces, but most locals call the entire area The Baylands. It’s a stopping point for birds on the Pacific Flyway, so you might want to check out this handy birding guide and pack your binoculars.
The San Francisco Bay Trail makes its way through much of the Baylands. I especially like this park because, in addition to being close to my home, it has multiple entrance points for a variety of experiences (maps here) and you can bring your dog along as long as they are on a leash!
Highlights of the Baylands include:
Set on over 175 acres, Sunnyvale Baylands Park combines wetlands and a traditional park with family friendly attributes, although pets are not allowed. There is a $6 parking fee from March to October and Santa Clara County Park Passes are not valid (pedestrians and cyclists can enter for free).
The park’s features include:
As is the case for all walks along the Bay, it is often windy and/or chilly, even if it is warm in the vicinity, so be sure to dress in layers and hold onto your hat!
This park encompasses 750 acres of land reclaimed for wildlife and recreation and does not allow dogs, although there is a dog park near the entrance. Its residents include Western Burrowing Owls, which are a Species of Special Concern, so keep an eye out but please do not disturb them. Barbeques, drones and fireworks are prohibited, as are large group events (except at the established facilities), but like the Palo Alto Baylands, it is a part of the Pacific Flyway, so it’s a great place to go birdwatching!
This park offers:
The main access to the park is from North Shoreline Blvd. Shoreline Amphitheatre sits next to, but is not a part of, the park. That means the traffic can get ugly when there is a concert, so be sure to plan ahead and check the schedule!
These trails and more beckon Bay Area residents to experience the beauty along the San Francisco Bay Trail. There are trails and activities for everyone to enjoy, the birds and wildlife are marvelous and the views are spectacular, so get out there and see the beauty for which our home is world renowned!
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more