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The Bay Trail through Redwood Shores leads over a wide variety of surfaces, from paved bike paths on the side of busy roads to rough, narrow single-track dirt paths. The trail can be taken as a loop trip around the Redwood Shores peninsula. [Note: see below for information about recent trail closures.] From the northwest end of the trail, by Oracle's corporate headquarters, the Bay Trail can be taken further north into Foster City. From there, it runs nearly uninterrupted along the Bay all the way from San Mateo to Millbrae, at the edge of San Francisco Airport. The next completed Bay Trail segment to the south of Redwood Shores is the short isolated stretch along Seaport Blvd. to the Port of Redwood City. However, public access is currently allowed around the levee surrounding Inner Bair Island, which can be reached at the end of Whipple Road. The proposed Bay Trail route south of Redwood Shores will run on the levee along Steinberger Slough, past the San Carlos County Airport. It will then run between Inner Bair Island and Hwy 101, then cut inland to eventually reach the trail along Seaport Blvd. to the Port of Redwood City.
The paved trail ends at the end of the club, where the channel empties into a larger lagoon. It continues on around the lagoon as a narrow, rough footpath rimmed with thorny weeds. This can be a difficult path for road bikes when the weeds are high. It runs behind a shopping center and condominium complex to join up with the start of the Bay Trail.
To get to the current official start of the Bay Trail, take Redwood Shores Parkway farther up, turn right on Bridge Parkway, which ends at Tiller Lane at Mariner Park. Head across the lawns of Mariner Park to the edge of Steinberger Slough. The trail begins at the edge of the park. To catch the Bay Trail a couple blocks farther south, turn right on Tiller Lane, then turn left onto Spar Drive. At the end of Spar Drive is a path leading to the gravel-surfaced Bay Trail. To the right, the trail goes a short distance and ends at a fence. A narrow gap in the fence allows access to the path around the lagoon mentioned above. To follow the Bay Trail, turn left and follow the trail north along wide Steinberger Slough. The trail descriptions below follow from this point.
After 0.1 miles is grassy Mariner Park. The 6.25-acre park is a large lawn play area with scattered trees, but has no paved trails through it.
The Bay Trail route is a narrow gravel path along the edge of the park lawn next to the slough. There is a wide expanse of pickleweed covering the cove in front of the park.
Steinberger Slough is a broad waterway that runs inland, then curves to the south along the San Carlos County Airport. On the opposite shore are the three undeveloped Bair Islands (Inner, Middle, and Outer). Redwood Shores once looked much like these islands. Parts of these islands belong to the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and are protected wildlife habitats. They comprise the largest restorable wetland in San Francisco Bay and were recently saved from development that would have turned them into another version of Redwood Shores. Plans are being made for the future of the Bair Islands..
The trail winds behind the backyards of houses. There is a narrow greenbelt between the trail and the backyard fences.
A pocket park appears at 0.4 miles. Trees line a lane that runs from the Bay Trail to the intersection of Cringle Drive and Barkentine Lane.
Ahead, the trail runs behind some condos. On the slough side are marshes with occasional abandoned boat docks.
At 0.6 miles is a private park with a playground and tennis courts.
At 0.8 miles, a long lawn area begins that runs between the trail and some condominium complexes. A concrete sidewalk winds through the lawn area. There is a small round playground, a large water tank, and a fire station. A path leads past the fire station to Redwood Shores Parkway. The sidewalk ends just past here.
The marshes on the slough side are part of the Redwood City Ecological Reserve. They abound with water birds, such as stilts, egrets, and herons.
At 1.2 miles, the end of an artificial lagoon is visible, surrounded by more condos.
At 1.3 miles, there is another small private park and playground. A sidewalk begins with parcourse stations, paralleling the levee trail. There is a broad lawn area here.
At 1.4 miles, the trail curves to the left. The sewage treatment plant and the mouth of Steinberger Slough come into view.
At 1.5 miles is a park with exercise stations. A path leads inland to Seal Pointe Drive. There is a wooden deck shaded with trees here.
Just beyond this park, the gravel trail becomes a paved path. A line of large houses begins. Their backyard fences face the trail.
At 1.6 miles, a path leads inland past a small playground to Redwood Shores Parkway. [Note: this is the start of the alternate route bypassing the trail closure]
Just beyond that, the houses next to the trail end. On the bayside are broad pickleweed flats. A line of power towers can be seen ahead.
At 1.8 miles, the giant line of power towers crosses the trail. Wooden catwalks lead out over the marsh to the nearest towers in the slough.
Inland is a open field that becomes a pond in the rainy season.
At 2.0 miles is a small dog park, Shore Dogs Park, next to a lagoon. A steep informal path leads down from the levee to the park, though it is more easily reached from Radio Road.
Just beyond that is the South Bayside System Authority Wastewater Treatment Works. The plant is to the left of the trail. It is surrounded by treatment ponds of varying size.
NOTE: This part of the trail described below to past the 4.4 mile point is currently closed to public access. Do not trespass. The pictures below were taken before the closure. They are included for historical purposes and in case this route is opened again:
At 2.3 miles, the paved trail ends near the mouth of Steinberger Slough on San Francisco Bay, at the east corner of the wastewater treatment plant. The path continues on as a gravel trail, then turns left before it reaches the Bay.
A rough dirt trail, not yet an official part of the Bay Trail, runs to the north, between the treatment plant's ponds and the bay.
There is a stretch of sandy beach along the Bay. The lands on the bayside of the trail are part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. These are protected areas that are off-limits to public access.
The lands along the Bay here are pickleweed and cordgrass marshes, providing a home for the endangered clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse. Small channels run through the marsh and lead out to the Bay.
At 2.6 miles, the path is joined by another dirt path running along the northwest edge of the treatment plant. The main trail then becomes a wider and smoother dirt road as it continues along next to the bay. To the south is a large marshy field with a network of radio transmitter towers.
At around 2.8 miles, the trail passes the eastern mouth of shallow Bay Slough.
Beyond the slough is marshy Bird Island, part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The trail follows the slough to the west.
At around 3.0 miles, a new housing development begins, separated from the trail by an artificial channel. At 3.5 miles, the trail makes an S-curve to the left.
Here, Bay Slough widens out and meets the mouth of larger Belmont Slough. A narrow dirt path branches off to the left to run inland along the top a levee. The main trails also narrows.
Across the mouth of Belmont Slough, the tip of the Foster City peninsula can be seen. Beyond that is the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. At 3.6 miles, the trail turns left and follows Belmont Slough inland.
At 3.8 miles, the trail again passes under the high-tension power lines. A catwalk leads down to the power tower next to the trail in Belmont Slough.
A narrow slough channel begins on the left side of the trail at the edge of a huge marsh area. The slough follows the trail and gradually widens out. At 4.1 miles, the trail, which is a double-track dirt trail, curves more to the left. At 4.4 miles, it becomes a narrow levee trail.
Note: this is the end of the closed portion of the trail. The portions below are open:
The trail passes through an open gate and gets closer to housing developments.
To the right of the trail along Belmont Slough is a tide gate that allows
water from the slough to flow into the Redwood Shores lagoon system. A
branch trail that parallels Shearwater Parkway joins the main trail here.
this is end of the trail bypass route.]
To the left is a forebay. A bridge leads over a channel that feeds into the Redwood Shores Lagoon system. Egrets and herons can often be seen feeding by the intake pipes.
The trail turns to the right and at 4.5 miles, becomes a groomed, landscaped gravel path with benches, next to an apartment complex.
At 4.7 miles, the gravel path ends at a fence near the border of a new industrial complex. A paved path along the industrial complex is under construction and should be completed in 2000. A rough dirt path follows along the levee between Belmont Slough and a small marsh to the south. The path follows the S-curve of the marsh and then heads south. At 5.2 miles, the small marsh ends, and the dirt trail passes through a pipe barrier.
The trail then runs next to the new section of Bridge Parkway. A new paved trail section runs next to the road and currently runs all the way to Oracle Parkway. At 5.6 miles, it passes by the confluence of two arms of Belmont Slough. To the left is a park with a parcourse next to some condos. The new paved trail rounds the end of the east arm of Belmont Slough.
At 5.9 miles, the new path ends at the paved path around Oracle Parkway. This path is on private property belonging to Oracle Corporation, but is open to the public for recreational purposes. The path is landscaped and includes parcourse stations, shade trees, benches, restrooms, and picnic tables. This path circles around Oracle Parkway for 1.1 miles and ends up back on Marine Parkway on the other side of Oracle.
The path follows up the east arm of Belmont Slough. The Bay Trail segment
taken earlier and the new developments can be seen on the opposite shore.
The trail turns at a point of land at the confluence of the arms of Belmont Slough. This point provides fine views of Belmont Slough and Foster City on the opposite shore.
There is a large lawn at this point, surrounded by tall trees along the edge of the slough.
Oracle Parkway continues as a semi-circular path around the Oracle Corporation complex, with the marshy banks of Belmont Slough on the right. The slough gradually narrows. A new pedestrian bridge crosses over Belmont Slough, joining to new Oracle buildings on the opposite shore.
Across the slough is Island Park. Oracle Parkway ends at Marine Parkway.
Oracle's headquarters buildings and large reflecting pond can be seen here.
To get back to the starting point, there are a couple of options. One is to take Marine Parkway to Twin Dolphin Drive, which is halfway between each end of Oracle Parkway. A concrete sidewalk and asphalt bike path run next to each other on the left side of the road. The road runs by new high rise buildings that rim the picturesque lagoon of Belmont Channel.
The other option is to cross Marine Parkway and turn right down Shoreway Road. Behind the parking lot of an industrial park and next to Belmont Creek is a gravel-surfaced parcourse path. This path begins off Shoreway Road, just past the intersection with Oracle Parkway. It runs along the creek banks, which are shaded by trees.
It eventually runs next to Twin Dolphin Drive, but the landscaping provides a park-like atmosphere.
Along the way is a sculpture that looks like a catapult.
Across the street is the end of Redwood Shores Lagoon, lined with businesses and a large hotel.
The parcourse path ends at a parking lot for a small industrial park. Another path continues to follow Belmont Creek as the creek makes a right-angle turn to the southwest. This path ends at Shoreway Road, which parallels Hwy 101.
Twin Dolphin Drive eventually hits Redwood Shores Parkway, which you can take back to your starting point.
To get to Foster City, take either Marine Parkway or Oracle Parkway to the west intersection of the two and head up on Oracle Parkway. Turn immediately onto Shoreway Road. After crossing over a creek, a bike path starts near a powerline tower. The bike path follows the creek and crosses the Belmont city limit. It ends on a street behind an auto dealer. Turn right on the street and cross the bridge over an arm of Belmont Slough. Continue on past the Belmont Sports Complex to the T-intersection at a hotel and a small manmade lake. Turn right on Concourse Drive and follow the road until it ends at a cul-de-sac. A short path leads to a paved multi-use path. A playground and parcourse are nearby. The path runs for 0.2 miles behind some condos. After passing through a gate, the trail enters Foster City and becomes a wide paved trail, part of the Foster City Pedway/Bikeway Facility. It shortly intersects the narrower paved trail that wraps around Foster City. This is the Foster City segment of the Bay Trail.
to the Foster City Bay Trail Tour
The status of the trail route is up in the air, but I have plotted out an alternate, currently unofficial bypass route, described below. It follows for a short distance on public roads, then follows neighborhood recreational paths that run as close as possible to the Bay. Parts of this route run next to private property, but the paths are not restricted (at the time of this writing). Parks and playgrounds along the way may be restricted to residents only. The route runs along artificial lagoons instead of the Bay, so the environment is park-like, but is not as natural an experience as travelling along the Bay.
Just after the gravel trail turns into an asphalt path at approx. 1.6 miles, turn left onto the path leading to a small playground. A sign here says the path leads to Redwood Shores Parkway.
Take the path, which runs by the playground. Cross private Governor's Bay Drive to Redwood Shores Parkway. Watch out for traffic on this road, as there are no bike lanes on this side, though there is a wide sidewalk.
Turn right on the road and follow it for another 0.2 miles, going over a lagoon arm, then turn right on Radio Road, which has bike lanes. After 0.2 miles, just before reaching Shoredogs Park, a new paved path appears on the left side of Radio Road near a new office building.
Follow this paved path, which runs next to a lagoon by some new apartments. The new office complex is to the right. Further ahead, on Radio Road, is a radio transmitter station, with its huge antennas.
There is a park and playground after 0.2 miles.
Continue ahead. After 0.3 miles, cross the lagoon on a bridge, then turn right and follow the path along the lagoon.
This soon parallels Seabrook Court. Cross another bridge after 0.3 miles and turn right.
The path follows the lagoon as it turns left. There is a new park and playground on the left. On the right is a closed access path to the levee trail on Bay Slough near Belmont Slough. Continue on the paved path to the left.
After 0.2 miles, a paved path branches off to the left and follows along the lagoon that runs under the powerline right-of-way.
Keep going straight. The paved path ends near a fenced off levee. Go the left and get onto another paved path.
Follow this path to the right, which joins the graded gravel path along the marsh levee. Turn left here and follow this path, which turns right to follow Shearwater Parkway after 0.2 miles.
The graded path ends, and the dirt levee path continues along the side of the marsh. Fences prevent access to the huge marsh. After 0.4 miles, the path T's on the side of Belmont Slough.
The levee path along the slough to the right is blocked by a fence. Take the wide levee path to the left, which passes by the tidal gates feeding the lagoon system from Belmont Slough. After 0.1 miles, a graded gravel path with benches begins in front of the apartment complex described at 4.5 miles above.
Continue on the rest of the tour above.