In part 1 of Hiking by the bay, we explored the Apay Trail of Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, CA. A bonus of hiking this wonderful trail along the edge of San Francisco Bay is that it connects to Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and its trails.
At the southern boundary of Coyote Hills, we crossed over the tollbooths of the Dumbarton Bridge (Hwy. 84 via a concrete pedestrian overpass to enter the Don Edwards refuge.
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which covers 25,902 acres around the edges of the South Bay from Redwood City to Fremont, is the largest urban wildlife refuge in the United States.
We paid a visit to the Visitor Center, a small prefab building east of the main parking lot, to pick up trail maps and then set off for the Tidelands Trail. To reach the trail, we climbed a paved road up the hill to the multi-story wooden structure. Inside are an auditorium and offices, outside are panoramic views of the salt ponds, sloughs, and the Bay and interpretive signs.
We continued up the hill to its top and once again paused for extensive views — Mission Peak to the east, San Francisco to the northwest. We could also see the network of sloughs, salt ponds, and trails in the area. The trail continues ahead down the hill. To the left you will see LaRiviere Marsh — a restoration project that is now a salt marsh habitat protecting such birds as the endangered California Clapper Rail. At the bottom, the trail splits. (Don’t turn left unless you want to reach paved Marshlands Road). Make a right turn and climb a short hill, at the bottom of that hill, turn left to cross a wooden bridge. This takes you over Newark Slough and onto the salt pond levee.
We stopped to read the brief history at the old hunter’s cabin, continued over a second wooden bridge to a old blind (hunter’s hideout), past a cluster of learning center, restrooms, and picnic tables, back up the hill to the paved road and then retraced our steps back to through Coyote Hills — where we had started our hike
On this return trip, we spotted more wildlife — many ground squirrels and a predator — a gopher snake. Most fun of all was looking into a concrete-edged pond ringed by cattails and reeds alongside the Bayview Trail and finding dozens of small fish and bright-red crawdads.
The total mileage for the two parts of this hike is about six miles.
Click ‘previous’ above to read part 1 of Hiking by the bay….
Directions to Don Edwards
Directions to the Refuge headquarters and visitor center in Fremont: From Highway 84 (at the east end of the Dumbarton Bridge), exit at Thornton Avenue. Travel south on Thornton Avenue for 0.8 miles to the Refuge entrance on the right. Turn right into the Refuge and follow Marshlands Road to the stop sign. Turn left into the main parking lot. The address is 9800 Thornton Ave., Fremont, CA..
Trail map of Don Edwards.
Trail map of Coyote Hills Regional Park.
Color brochure of Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge
San Francisco Bay Trail: Don Edwards
Parking and entrance to Don Edwards is free.
Trails are open: From April 1 – through October 31, trails are open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00.
November 1 – March 31, trails are open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Visitor Center is open Tuesday – through Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on all national holidays. Phone: 510/792 0222.