Did you know that the San Francisco Bay shoreline stretches for about 500 miles? And that the San Francisco Bay Trail will eventually cover all 500 miles? Right now the trail is complete for 340 miles. The portion of the Bay Trail I am most familiar with is about four miles long and starts at the Heron Bay neighborhood in San Leandro and follows the shoreline all the way to the San Leandro Marina. This section of the Trail is all paved and is popular with joggers, bicyclists and people like me who just like to go for a stroll along the bay.
My house in Castro Valley is about ten miles east of San Francisco Bay. Sometimes I jump in the car and drive west to the foot of Lewelling Blvd in San Leandro where I find the nearest entrance to the San Francisco Bay Trail (It’s actually one block further west from the end of Lewelling at the intersection of Bayfront Drive and Heron Drive).
You have a choice to make right away: Either turn north and walk along the shore toward the San Leandro Marina with the Bay on your left and The Monarch Bay – Tony Lema Golf Course on your right or turn south and walk on the path that takes you eventually to The Hayward Shoreline Regional Interpretive Center near the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge. I usually walk north for a mile or two and then turn around and walk back. I took this shot one foggy day in 2009 after walking across a bridge that goes over the marsh just past the entrance to the trail.
Warning: Parking on the residential streets of the Heron Bay neighborhood is restricted to residents. This includes the last block of Lewelling and the one-block street called Bayfront and they will tow away your car if you park there. I usually find a parking spot near the intersection of Lewelling and Wicks, which is a couple of blocks away from the trail entrance.
An alternate route would be to drive to the San Leandro Marina at the end of Marina Blvd and park at the Marina parking lot just past Horatio’s restaurant and then walk south on the trail to Heron Bay. Marina Park gets crowded on weekends and holidays. Better go early in the day if you want to find a parking spot.
I believe that Heron Bay was coined by a real estate developer. But if you are lucky you might find a great blue heron in the marshland near the trail. The odds are, though, that you will more likely come across either a great or a snowy egret. Many other types of shorebirds inhabit the area. Don’t forget your camera when you go for a walk.
Go to www.baytrail.org for more info on the San Francisco Bay Trail. You will find some maps and even some apps!