Bair Island Hike Information

Opened in late 2015, Bair Island has great views of the Bay and the adjacent wetlands. Look for large rays, leopard sharks, egrets, great blue herons and other shorebirds.

Watch for:

Endangered California clapper rails and salt marsh harvest mice. Also cottontail rabbits, peregrine falcons, pelicans, egrets, terns, and stilts. Large rays and small leopard sharks can be seen in the sloughs at the farther reaches of the island.


  • Hiking
  • No Dogs
  • No Horses
  • No Fishing
  • Biking
  • No Camping
  • Handicap Accessible
  • No Swimming

Hike map

Download the map here

The Bair Island Hike

Located near downtown Redwood City, Bair Island offers a flat hiking trail with views of the bay and plenty of wildlife. Consisting of three islands separated by sloughs, the islands have a vast array of waterfowl and shorebirds, harbor seals and other wildlife make their home here.

Follow the flat, exposed trail for 1.7 miles to the Middle Bair Island observation deck. Make sure to bring your binoculars and look out for birds like the Ridgeway’s Rail and Western Snowy Plover. Then retrace your steps back to the parking lot. This short, low-grade hike is perfect for a warm, sunny day and wildlife watching.

Directions to the Bair Island Hike

From Highway 101, take the Whipple Ave. exit heading east. Follow the road as it curves sharply to the right and becomes East Bayshore Road. Continue straight, then make a sharp left as the road becomes Bair Island Rd. Just before The Villas apartment complex, turn right at the sign for the wildlife refuge and park in the lot. Backtrack on foot across Bair Island Road. to reach the trailhead.

More About the Coastal Bair Island Hike

Conservationists worked for more than 30 years to save Bair Island from development, an effort that successfully culminated in POST’s acquisition of 1,623 acres here in 1997. Though portions of the island are owned by the State of California, the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge has managed the entire area since 1998. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is restoring 1,400 acres of Bair Island to tidal marsh as it revitalizes the Bay’s critical wetlands ecosystem with the help of restoration funds held by POST.

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