For a more curated experience check out trail guides from our partner publishers.
Best Hikes with Kids: San Francisco Bay Area
by Laure Latham (The Mountaineers Books)
Windswept trails along San Francisco Bay; bird- watching
Best Easy Day Hikes: San Francisco's East Bay
by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre (Falcon Guides)
Narrow levees and scenic bridges support an amazing trail system that explores restored saltwater and freshwater marshes on the Hayward shoreline. Panoramic views open westward across the bay waters to San Francisco. In the mid-1800s, the pristine marshlands along the east shore of San Francisco Bay were placed into production. Levees were erected to create salt evaporation ponds—the first in the Bay Area—producing a commodity that was highly valued as a preservative for food and was also used by miners in their labors. It’s an industry that became commonplace in the East and South Bays, and many of these ponds remain today, contained in an extensive patchwork of levees that’s best appreciated from the air.
East Bay Trails: Hiking Trails in Alameda & Contra Costa Counties
by David Weintraub (Wilderness Press)
From just behind the visitor center, operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, take a moment to look out over the system of marshes around you. To your left are the Oliver Ponds, remnants of a vast salt-harvesting industry that began during the mid-19th century in San Francisco Bay and still exists today in limited areas of the Bay. Four generations of the Oliver family farmed salt on the Hayward shoreline, and the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD) purchased the ponds from the Oliver estate in the mid-1990s. The area directly in front of you is the HARD Marsh, former salt ponds restored to tidal action in 1986. Beyond lies the fresh and brackish water Hayward Marsh, an EBRPD project created in 1988 to naturally cleanse and release into the Bay some one million gallons per day of secondary treated sewage discharge water. To your right is habitat managed for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.
Best Bike Rides San Francisco
by Wayne Cottrell (Falcon Guides)
The Hayward Shoreline Dig is a mercifully flat dirt and gravel ride along the shores and former salt evaporators of the San Francisco Bay’s southeast shore. The ride uses the San Francisco Bay Trail, traversing Hayward Regional Shoreline in San Lorenzo and Hayward and Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in southern Hayward. The route is out and back, except for a couple of short loops within the boundaries of the Hayward Regional Shoreline. The only hill on the route is a short climb to the top of a freeway overpass.
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